Lola and Finn's Mum

Lola and Finn's Mum

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Easy does it! Ottolenghi Chicken with Caramelised Onion and Cardamom Rice.

Easy. Often things aren't are they? Though there are those annoying types who think that somehow something being easy isn't enough of a challenge and that something that doesn't test your perseverance is somehow not worth bothering with. It's a bit like that 'if it isn't hurting, it isn't working' adage that gets trotted out every so often by those who are probably well meaning but extraordinarily irritating. And whilst these people always seem to be atop of everything, I refuse to believe that there isn't a part of their lives which is as chaotic and stupid as mine, so even they would be appreciative of something that was as effortless as this recipe.
This 'effortless' thing, however, is all relative. There requires some involvement: some rudimentary chopping skills, the opening of a packet of rice and a requirement to be in or around the kitchen whilst the thing cooks, but other than that, it is something you can 'knock up' (not the greatest phrase ever) whilst doing something else, like sorting out a small amount of the chaos that is your life maybe, if you happen to be me.
I have waxed lyrical about my love of all things Ottolenghi elsewhere on this blog. This recipe, unsurprisingly, does not disappoint on any level. Yum!
Ottolenghi Chicken with Caramelised Onion and Cardamom Rice, adapted from 'Jerusalem' by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi
Serves Lola, Finn, Mum, Dad and one other
4 tbsp olive oil
2 medium onions, finely sliced (250g in total)
1kg chicken thighs, with bone and skin, or 1 whole chicken divided into quarters (I used chicken thighs)
10 cardamom pods
⅓ tsp whole cloves
2 long cinnamon sticks, broken in two
300g basmati rice
550ml boiling water
1 chicken stock cube (my addition)
 5g parsley, chopped
5g dill, chopped (I omitted this, as I don't like it really and as a result, didn't have it)
5g coriander, chopped
100g Greek yoghurt, mixed with 2 tablespoons of olive oil (optional)
salt and black pepper
Heat half the 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.
Place the chicken in a large mixing bowl and season with 1½ teaspoons each salt and black pepper. Add the remaining olive oil, cardamom, cloves and cinnamon and use your hands to mix everything together well. Heat the frying pan again and place the chicken and spices in it. Sear chicken for 5 minutes on each side and remove from the pan (this is important as it part-cooks the chicken). The spices can stay in the pan, but don’t worry if they stick to the chicken.
Remove most of the remaining oil as well, leaving just a thin film at the bottom.
Add the rice, caramelized onion, 1 teaspoon salt and plenty of black pepper. Add the currants. Stir well and return the seared chicken to the pan, pushing it into the rice.
Pour the boiling water (in which I dissolved a stock cube) over the rice and chicken, cover the pan, and cook over very low heat 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 another 10 minutes.

Finally, add the herbs 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 mixture if you like.

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