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Moroccan baked chicken with chickpeas and rice January 23, 2010

Posted by Helen in chicken.

Another delicious dish, courtesy of Delia, which I loved but which didn’t impress my husband. Ah, well. All the more for me! I also love this recipe because everything cooks in one dish, making my life much easier. The recipe, as written, serves 4, so I halved it. Also, rather than using a whole chicken, I used a breast for me and a couple of thighs for the husband. I also substituted tinned chickpeas for dried since I had them on hand.











1 x 1½-2 kg chicken, jointed into 8 pieces; or use a pack of 8 drumsticks and thighs
11og dried chickpeas
175g brown basmati rice
1 level tsp cumin seeds
1 level tbsp coriander seeds
½ level tsp saffron stamens
2 small lemons
2 yellow peppers
2 onions
2 tbsp olive oil
15g fresh coriander
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 fresh chillies,  halved, de-seeded and finely chopped
275ml chicken stock
150ml dry white wine
50g pitted black olives
50g pitted green olives
Salt and pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan).

If you’re using dried (rather than tinned) chickpeas, there are two ways to deal with them. The easiest is to pop them into a bowl, cover them with cold water and leave them overnight or for a minimum of 8 hours. But, if it slips your mind, what you can do is place them in a saucepan, cover them with cold water and bring them up to the boil for 10 minutes. Then turn off the heat and let them soak for 3 hours. Either way, when you want to start making this recipe, the chickpeas need to be simmered for 20 minutes or until tender. Honestly, I found it much easier using tinned chickpeas, and the dish still tasted lovely.

Place a small frying pan over direct medium heat, add the cumin and coriander seeds and toss them around in a hot pan for about 2-3 minutes or until they start to dance and change colour. Then remove the seeds to a pestle and mortar and crush them coarsely and transfer them to a plate. Next, crush the saffron stamens to a powder with the pestle and mortar, then squeeze out the juice of one of the lemons and add it to the saffron, stirring well.

Then season your chicken pieces well with salt and pepper. Slice the peppers in half, remove the seeds and pith and cut each half into 4 large pieces. The onions should be sliced roughly the same size as the peppers. Now heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in the flameproof casserole and, when it’s really hot, brown the chicken pieces on all sides – don’t overcrowd the pan; it’s best to do it in 2 batches, 4 pieces at a time.

After that, remove the chicken pieces to a plate, then add the second tablespoon of oil and turn the heat to its highest setting. When the oil is really hot, add the peppers and onions and cook them in the hot oil, moving them around until their edges are slightly blackened – this should take about 5 minutes – then turn the heat down. Strip the coriander leaves from the stalks, wrap them in a piece of clingfilm and keep them in the fridge. Then chop the coriander stalks finely and add these to the peppers and onions, along with the garlic, chillies, crushed spices, the chickpeas and rice, then give everything a good stir to distribute all the ingredients.

Season well with salt and pepper, then combine the lemon and saffron mixture with the stock and wine, pour it all in to the casserole and stir well. Cut the remaining lemon into thin slices and push these well into the liquid. Now scatter the olives in and, finally, place the pieces of chicken on top of everything. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and place in the pre-heated oven for 1 hour or until the rice and chickpeas are tender. Then, just before serving, scatter the coriander leaves on top and serve straight away.



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