A feast for both the eye and the stomach, succulent spiced chicken is cooked on a bed of rice, peppered with almonds, apricots and pomegranate seeds. A real showstopper that can be taken to the table to serve either straight from the pot or be presented on a large platter. This dish appears opulent but couldn’t be easier to make.
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Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour 30 minutes
For the Chicken
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
½ tablespoon ras el hanout
1 tablespoon sweet chilli sauce
1 tablespoon rapeseed oil
2kg free-range chicken
For the Rice
1 tablespoon oil, for frying
1 large onion, diced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ras el hanout
360g brown rice or brown basmati rice, washed and drained
700ml hot chicken stock
200g whole dried apricots
100g shelled pistachio nuts
2 cinnamon sticks
6 cardamom pods
½ pomegranate, seeds removed
Parsley, mint and coriander, roughly chopped
Preheat the oven to 210⁰C/ Fan190⁰C/ Gas Mark 6-7
- Put the cinnamon, cumin, paprika and ras el hanout spices in a bowl. Stir in the sweet chilli sauce, oil and the zest of 1 lemon. Finish the marinade with a squeeze of lemon juice and then put the lemon in the cavity of the chicken.
- Rub the chicken thoroughly with the marinade and leave to marinate for at least 10 minutes. Put into the Toughened Non-Stick Deep Casserole and place in the oven (without the lid) to roast for 45 minutes.
- In the meantime, heat a little oil in a non-stick frying pan and gently sauté the onions for 5-6 minutes until soft. Add the garlic along with a pinch of salt and fry for a further minute. Add the ras el hanout and rice and stir through the onions then remove from the heat.
- After 45 minutes, remove the chicken from the oven and turn down to 200⁰C/ Fan 180⁰C/ Gas Mark 6. Lift the chicken out of the casserole and put on a plate. Tip the rice mixture into the casserole and pour in the stock. Add the apricots, almonds, cinnamon sticks and cardamom pods.
- Place on the hob and bring to the boil. Once simmering, return the chicken to the casserole, put on lid and return to the oven for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, fluff the rice with a fork. Cook for a final 15 minutes, without the lid, until all the liquid has been absorbed and the chicken and rice are cooked through.
- Remove from the oven and put on the lid. Allow the chicken to rest for 5-10 minutes to allow all the cooking vapours to be
- To serve, sprinkle with roughly chopped parsley, mint and coriander and pomegranate seeds.
- Why not use your leftovers for lunch the follow day? Toast some pittas and add a spoonful of hummus. Add shredded leftover chicken and a sprinkling of rice. Finish with a generous handful of rocket leaves.
- Make a delicious stock from the marinate carcass if the chicken. Place the bones in a large pot and cover with water. Throw in some aromatics like, roughly chopped carrot, onion and celery as well as a bay leaf and 5 peppercorns. Simmer for 30 – 40 minutes, remove the bones and aromatics and strain through a fine sieve – season to taste. This full-flavoured chicken stock can be frozen and used in soups, stews and risottos.