This Chicken Pilaf is a gently spiced yet fully flavoured dish, rich in the warm yet zesty flavours of the Eastern Mediterranean. It comes with added benefit that it doesn’t need all that much attention when you’re making it – the chicken can be prepared the night before and left to infuse with the spice mix flavours and then when you’re ready to cook it the whole casserole dish goes straight from the hob into the oven, cutting down on the washing up as a bonus!
I should mention that I am more than aware that this should probably be made with chicken still on the bone, but as the other half is not a fan of meat served this way I’ve tweaked it to be done with skinless and boneless thigh fillets. You can make your own mind up on which to use here…
- 2 cloves Garlic crushed
- 1 tsp ground Coriander
- 1 tsp ground Cumin
- ½ tsp Smoked Paprika
- ½ tsp ground Cardamom
- ½ tsp Cayenne Pepper
- ½ tsp Black Pepper
- ½ tsp Sea Salt
- 1 Lemon Juiced
- 4 Skinless and Boneless Chicken Thigh fillets
- ½ tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 small Onion finely diced
- 1 clove Garlic crushed
- 150 g long grain Rice
- 200 ml quality Chicken stock
- 200 ml Water
- ½ tsp Salt
- ½ tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- ½ tsp ground Cardamon
- 1 cinnamon stick or pinch ground Cinnamon
- 200 g canned Chickpeas drained
- 50 g Raisins or Sultanas
- Natural Greek Style Yoghurt
- Small Handful Fresh Coriander chopped
- Small Handful Fresh Parsley chopped
- Pomegranate Molasses
Prepare the spice rub by mixing all of the ingredients together in a zip lock food bag before adding the chicken and ensuring all pieces are well covered. Marinate for at least 1 hour but if you can leave it overnight in the fridge that’s a bonus.
When ready to cook preheat oven to 180°C
Heat the olive oil in a large oven-proof casserole over medium high heat then add the chicken skin side down. After 5 minutes turn the chicken over and cook for another 5 minutes until golden all over. Remove the chicken from the pan.
Remove any excess fat but leave enough to cook the onion and garlic for a few minutes until starting to soften.
When the onions are tender add the rice and stir so the grains are coated in oil and become a bit translucent. At this point add all of the remaining ingredients and stir. Top with the chicken and any juices from the plate – you want to have it sitting in the mixture with the skin sitting proud.
Bring to a simmer then cover and transfer to oven. Bake for 35 minutes, before removing the lid and baking for a further 10 minutes. When it’s cooked through remove from the oven and allow to rest.
Remove the chicken and mix the rice to ensure the flavours permeate the dish. Serve the rice out, then add the chicken back on top. Garnish with the herbs, drizzle with the pomegranate molasses and add a dollop of natural yoghurt to taste.