Cooking rice and meat together in the same pot keeps things simple while also infusing the rice with rich flavor. Chicken thighs are David’s and my meat of choice in the winter. They are cheap, incredibly tender and flavorful, and endlessly versatile. Have you ever had roasted chicken cooked with nothing else but salt and pepper? It is simplicity and deliciousness at its finest. I love one-pot dishes for their ease of preparation and lack of dishes to wash later. Ottolenghi is another chef that can do no wrong when it comes to my palate. I love every recipe I’ve ever made of his, and this one-pot chicken dish is no exception.
slightly adapted from: Jerusalem
2 1/2 tablespoons currants (or you could use raisins, golden raisins, or dried cherries)
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
2 1/4 pounds bone-in chicken thighs (5-6)
10 cardamom pods
rounded 1/4 teaspoon whole cloves
2 long cinnamon sticks broken in two
1 2/3 cups basmati rice, rinsed & drained
2 1/4 cups boiling water
1 1/2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1/2 cup dill, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt, mixed with 2 tablespoons olive oil (optional)
salt + freshly ground black pepper
Heat half of 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 1 1/2 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 (skin side down 1st) and spices in it. Sear for 5 minutes on each side and remove from the pan (this is important as it part-cooks the chicken and gets that nice crispy-ish skin). 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 as well. Stir well and return the seared chicken to the pan, pushing it into the rice.
Pour the boiling water 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 the yogurt if you like.