This is a simple recipe adapted from Yottam Ottolenghi’s chicken with caramelized cardamom & onion rice in his excellent cookbook Jerusalem. The idea is to create a delicious comfort food by slow-cooking rice with savory chicken thighs, sweet dried berries, pungent five spice, and tangy shallots until the various flavors coalesce into a fragrant one-pot dish. The core of recipe is to sear meat, sauté aromatics in the drippings, and slow-cook rice, meat, and seasonings until the rice is fully cooked. However, the flavor profile can be modified to your palate, with the exchangeable elements being the type of meat used, the sautéd aromatics, the spice infusion in the boiling water, and the herb garnish.
FIVE-SPICED CHICKEN + RICE SKILLET.
- 8 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
- 1 large shallot, chopped
- 1⁄4 cup dried cranberries
- Five spice powder
- White pepper
- 3-4 sprigs of cilantro, coarsely chopped
- 1 ⅔ (300g) cups basmati rice
- 2 ¼ cup boiling water
- 4-6 whole star anise, 2-3 sticks of cinnamon (optional)
Working in batches, sear chicken thighs on all sides in a 12″ stainless steel or cast iron skillet (using less oil and pouring off fat occasionally is helpful to crisp the skin).
Set aside thighs in a mixing bowl and season with salt, pepper, and five spice powder. Pour off all but 2 tbsp of fat and sauté the chopped shallots on low-medium heat for at least 10 minutes.
Boil 2 ¼ cup of water and stir in generous amounts of five spice powder, salt, white pepper, and any other desired seasonings. Pour rice into the pan along with the boiling water.
Place thighs skin side up along with whole spices (optional) and cranberries in the skillet.
Cover and simmer on low heat for at least half an hour or until the rice has fully absorbed the water.
Fluff the rice with a fork and garnish with chopped cilantro. Serve immediately or keep warm (withholding the cilantro until serving) for several hours.
Adapted from Yottam Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem.