This is the best dish I cooked all week. Not only because it’s really tasty, aromatic and delicious but also because of it’s simplicity to prepare. It’s one of those one-pot dishes that take 20 minutes to prep and then the oven does the work. But when you present it at the table everyone thinks you were really sweating it in the kitchen. And it’s healthy. You don’t have to pre-fry the chicken before roasting. As I said the oven does the work. What more can you wish for.
This recipe is an adaptation from Alexandra Stafford recipe I found on Food52. But as usual I spiced things up a little bit. I rubbed the chicken with the most aromatic spice mix and gave it some heat. I increased the amount of rice as I really like my starch and I have a family of 5. The cardamom pods, cinnamon, cumin seeds and raisins in the rice take it to another level.
The end result is a crispy, aromatic, spicy chicken on a bed of a very flavourful rice, which has absorbed all the goodness from the chicken and has transformed into something so delicious. My favourite things to eat from this pot are the golden, crispy bits or rice that stick to the bottom or the sides of the pan. I’m drooling as I write this. And it’s healthy! And easy! And a keeper.
For the Chicken:
- 1 Tbs sea salt
- 1 Tbs ground cumin
- 1 Tbs paprika
- 1 tsp chilli powder or cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 whole chicken with skin, cut in about 8 pieces
To complete the dish:
- 2 cups long grain rice (not parboiled), preferably “Carolina”
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 medium red onions, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 6 cardamom pods, bruised
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 3 Tbs raisins
- 3 cups chicken broth
- A pinch of saffron
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Chopped parsley
- Roughly chopped pistachios (optional)
Preheat oven to 200 C fan.
Mix together in a small bowl, the sea salt and all the spices for the chicken. Sprinkle chicken pieces liberally with the spice mix, on all sides, rubbing the meat as you go to help absorb the flavours. Set aside until needed.
Take a large skillet; one that you can transfer in the oven later and that will fit the chicken pieces in one layer (see note). Put olive oil in the skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes, until onions are soft and beginning to colour. Add the garlic and cook a minute longer.
Lower the heat to medium low and add the cardamom pods, cumin seeds and cinnamon. Cook for about a minute longer and add the raisins and rice. Stir well to coat rice with all the flavours in the pan. Season lightly with salt and pepper. When seasoning the rice, remember that it will absorb a lot of flavour from the chicken, so use salt sparingly.
Add the pinch of saffron to the broth and mix. Pour in the broth and stir. Bring to the boil. Take skillet off the heat. Lay the chicken pieces on top of the rice.
Transfer skillet in the preheated oven. Roast for 40-45 minutes until chicken is cooked through and juices run clear.
Sprinkle with parsley and chopped pistachios and serve straight from the skillet.
Note: If you don’t have a large enough skillet, or one you can transfer in the oven later, then follow the recipe until just before you add the broth to the pot. Transfer the rice mixture into a baking pan. Boil the chicken broth and add it to the baking pan. Then proceed with the recipe.