RECIPE REFRESH – Ottolenghi’s Chicken with Caramelized Onion & Cardamom Rice
Recipe adapted from Jerusalem: A Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi from 10 Speed Press, Berkeley, California ©2012.*
- 330 grams (1 2/3 cups) basmati rice
- 40 grams (3 tablespoons) sugar
- 25 grams (2 1/2 tablespoons) barberries (or dried red currants*)
- 1 kilogram (2 1/4 pounds) skin-on bone-in chicken thighs, or 1 whole chicken, quartered
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 60 ml (4 tablespoons) olive oil
- 10 cardamom pods
- 1.5 ml (rounded 1/4 teaspoon) whole cloves
- 2 long cinnamon sticks, broken in two
- 2 medium onions, thinly sliced (250 grams or 2 cups in total)
- 5 grams (1/2 cup) dill leaves, chopped
- 5 grams (1/4 cup) cilantro leaves, chopped
- 5 grams (1 1/2 tablespoons) flat parsley leaves, chopped
- 71 ml (1/3 cup) Greek yogurt, mixed with 30 ml (2 tablespoons) olive oil (optional)
- Place the rice in a mixing bowl, cover with cold water, and stir until the water is cloudy. Pour off the water, add fresh water, and stir again. Repeat until the water is clear. Drain off the water a final time and add 473 ml (2 cups) cold water. Set aside to soak for about 20 minutes.
2. In a small saucepan combine the sugar and 40 ml (scant 3 tablespoons) water; heat until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat, add the barberries, and set aside to soak. If using currants, you do not need to soak them this way.
3. Place the chicken in a large mixing bowl and season with 2.5 ml (1 ½ teaspoons) each salt and black pepper. Add half (30 ml/2 tablespoons) of the olive oil, and the cardamom, cloves, and cinnamon. Use your hands to mix everything together well, and set aside.
4. Heat the remaining 30 ml (2 tablespoons) olive oil in a large sauté pan (for which you have a lid) over medium heat. Add the onion, and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion has turned a deep golden brown. Transfer the onion to a small bowl and wipe the pan clean.
5. Heat the frying pan again and place the chicken and spices in it. Sear the chicken for 5 minutes on each side and remove from the pan; the spices can remain in the pan. Remove most of the remaining oil as well, leaving just a thin film at the bottom. Add the rice, caramelized onion, 5 ml (1 teaspoon) salt, and plenty of black pepper. Drain the barberries and add them as well. Stir well and return the seared chicken to the pan, pushing it into the rice.
6. Pour 473 ml (2 cups) water over the rice and chicken, cover the pan, and bring to a boil. Cover the pan, reduce heat to very low, and simmer for 30 minutes. Take the pan off the heat, remove the lid, quickly place a clean tea towel over the pan, and seal again with the lid. Leave the dish undisturbed for anther 10 minutes. Finally, add the dill, cilantro, and parsley, and use a fork to stir them in and fluff up the rice. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed. Serve hot or warm, with yogurt if desired.
“Cooking meat with rice and water in one pot is a good way of introducing a good meaty flavor to the rice while keeping things relatively simple – no stock is needed and only one pot is used. Bukharan Jews (from Uzbekistan) have a more sophisticated version than the one above, called plov, which is at the center of all Bukharan celebrations. There, the chicken and rice are layered more carefully so that when the pan is inverted at the end, the chicken that was perfectly fried on the bottom now crowns the top of the elaborate creation.”
from Jerusalem: A Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi (10 Speed Press)