Rice with Lamb and Spiced Chicken recipe
I found this Ottolenghi recipe when I was looking for an impressive supper to cook for friends, well, that I was trying to impress. I only tend to turn to Ottolenghi when I’ve got the time and the inclination to cook, but this recipe was so worth it, and being the slightly lazy chef that I am, I’ve simplified this Rice with Lamb and Spiced Chicken just for you *and for me*.
This recipe is a tale of three halves *I’m shit at maths*. Each one of them coming together to make an amazing dish to share with friends and family. A chicken poached in aromatic garlic and cinnamon sticks crowns this dish; the flavoursome stock featuring in the lamb sautéed rice it sits on. There are extras too, which you can make if you like, such as a garlic yoghurt dressing and buttery nuts to top the dish and add crunch and elegance. Top with some fresh pomegranate seeds or dried sour cherries and parsley for freshness and colour. I can’t thank the endlessly elegant Ottolenghi enough for this recipe inspiration.
Don’t be put off by the length of this recipe; I’ve made it three times now and I’m a right lazy cow. The resulting platter of deliciousness is my new favourite food, the whole family are obsessed, so I’m hoping now I’ve shared the recipe, they can bloody well make it for me.
Here are the three halves and nothing scary to see, all just simple, tasty ingredients. The garlic yoghurt dressing and buttered pine nuts and almonds bring depth to this dish, but if you’re in a hurry, you could always just serve with hummus, plain Greek yoghurt and whatever nuts you have to hand, lightly toasted. But if you do have an extra 5 minutes, these bits and bobs are so worth it.
Right, start by poaching the whole chicken, one of my favourite things to do in the kitchen. Pop it into a large pan with the quartered onion, garlic bulb, halved around the middle and two cinnamon sticks. Pour on 2 litres of water and 2 teaspoons of salt and bring up to the simmer over a medium heat. Put the lid on, turn the heat down and cook for 70 minutes, or until your chicken’s cooked through.
When it’s cooked, carefully remove from the fragrant stock (strain and keep this you’ll need it for later), leave until the chicken’s cool enough to handle, then remove the skin and bones and chop into bite sized pieces. Toss the chicken in the cumin and cinnamon, then cover and keep until later.
Now it’s time for the rice. Take a large frying pan with a lid and add a tablespoon of oil and 25g butter. Heat over a medium flame then add the chopped onion and cook until just softened and starting to turn golden.
Stir in the garlic, cook for another minute then add the lamb and cumin and cook for 3 to 4 minutes until no longer pink.
Stir in the rice then pour on 700ml of the reserved chicken stock. Add the salt and pepper then bring up to the simmer, turn down the heat and put a lid on and cook for 15 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent stickage.
When the rice is tender and tasting amazing, add another 25g butter and replace the lid and leave to sit for 15 minutes.
Utilise this time to finish your dish. Heat 2 tablespoons oil and 25g butter over a medium heat in a large frying pan. Tip in the spiced, cooked chicken and stir well to toast slightly and reheat, for around 5 minutes.
Once it’s warmed through, stir in the lemon juice and fresh parsley.
Add 40g butter to a small frying pan and add the pine nuts and almonds. Cook for a couple of minutes until just golden and the butter’s bubbling. Stir through the chilli flakes.
For the final garlic yoghurt sauce flourish, whisk together the Greek yoghurt, crushed garlic and another 100ml of reserved chicken stock until smooth.
You’re now ready to serve this wonderful dish. And I suggest you use a platter slightly larger than mine which was photogenic, but overflowing.
Pile the rice onto the plate then add the spiced chicken.
Pour on half the garlic yoghurt, then pour over the buttered nuts and finally garnish with some more freshly chopped parsley and pomegranate seeds.
Pile generously into bowls, serving with more garlic yoghurt on the side. Devour, then go in for seconds.
I can’t tell you how good this is, you’ll just have to try it. If you’re looking for a celebratory, beyond tasty, slightly show-offy dish this Easter, then this is for you.
Rice with Lamb and Spiced Chicken recipe
Serves a generous 6, maybe more
You will just need pots and pans for this recipe
1 whole chicken, at least 1.5kg
1 onion, cut into quarters, no need to peel
1 whole bulb of garlic, cut in half around the middle
2 cinnamon sticks
2 litres water
2 teaspoons salt
For the cooked chicken
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons oil
Juice half a lemon
A handful chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon oil
25g butter, plus another 25g for the cooked rice
1 onion, finely chopped
2 to 3 cloves crushed garlic, size dependent
400g lamb mince
2 teaspoons cumin
400g rice, mine was Basmati
700ml chicken stock (use the stock from the poached chicken)
1 teaspoon of salt and a good grind of black pepper
Garlic Yoghurt and Nut Garnish
350g Greek yoghurt
1 to 2 cloves garlic, size dependent, crushed
100ml chicken stock (again, from your poached chicken)
30g pine nuts
30g almonds, I used flaked, but whole and chopped would be ok
1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes
Lots of freshly chopped parsley and pomegranate seeds, or dried sour cherries would be nice too
Start by cooking the chicken. Add your chicken to a large pan with 2 litres of water, two cinnamon sticks, the onion and whole bulb of garlic. Season with two teaspoons of salt then bring the pot up to the simmer. Put a lid on and turn down the heat and cook for 70 minutes, or until your chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken from the stock, reserving the stock, and once cool, remove all the meat, discarding the skin and bones. Toss the cooked chicken in 1 1/2 teaspoons of cumin and half a teaspoon of cinnamon. Cover and put to one side for the moment.
For the rice, heat the tablespoon of oil and 25g butter in a large frying pan with a lid over a medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook until just soft and turning golden. Add the crushed garlic then cook for another minute before adding the lamb mince and cumin and cooking for 3 to 4 minutes until it’s no longer pink. Tip in the basmati rice, stir well, then pour on 700ml of the reserved strained chicken stock. Season with the salt and pepper. Cook for 15 minutes, with a lid on, stirring occasionally so it doesn’t stick. When the time’s up, add the final 25g butter, then put the lid on for 15 minutes. Leave covered while you prepare the final elements.
Take a large frying and heat the 2 tablespoons olive oil and the 25g butter over a medium heat. Stir through the cooked chicken meat, tossing in the oil and butter, for around 5 minutes until the chicken is warmed through and fragrant. Stir through the lemon juice and chopped parsley then keep warm.
For the garlic yoghurt sauce, in a jug, mix 1 to 2 cloves of crushed garlic with the Greek yoghurt then whisk in the 100ml of your strained reserved chicken stock until smooth.
For the buttery nuts, add 40g butter to a small frying pan then add the pine nuts and almonds. Cook for a couple of minutes until just turning golden, and the butter is sizzling. Stir in the chilli flakes.
You’re now ready to serve. Pile the lamb rice onto a serving platter and top with the spiced chicken. Pour over half of the garlic yoghurt then top the dish with your warm nuts, more freshly chopped parsley and some pomegranate seeds or sour dried cherries. Devour in large bowlfuls, with more garlic yoghurt on the side.
If you can’t be arsed to make the garlic yoghurt or buttered nuts, simply serve with some Greek yoghurt, hummus and toasted flaked almonds or pine nuts to garnish.
Any leftovers will be super tasty, reheated for the next two to three days.