Chicken & Rice, Biryani Style

February 16, 2015
Lunch, Dinner, Winter, Fall, Comfort Food, B-Team Recipes

Read more about this modern casserole in Stephanie's blog post

Serves: 8

Creamy Curry Sauce
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 small Spanish onion, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
3-inch piece fresh ginger, coarsely chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons mild curry good quality powder
1 teaspoon ground coriander
3 cups low sodium canned chicken broth or light homemade chicken stock
¾ cups unsweetened coconut milk, stirred well
2 cinnamon sticks
1 bay leaf
½ cup chopped cilantro leaves and stems Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne or chile de arbol

1. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and ginger, season with salt and pepper and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, curry powder and coriander and cook, stirring constantly, for 4 minutes (to cook some of the rawness out of the tomato and to allow the spices to bloom).

2. Whisk in the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add the coconut milk, cinnamon, bay leaf and cilantro, bring to a boil, season with salt, pepper and cayenne. Reduce to a simmer and let the sauce cook until slightly reduced, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Strain the sauce into a bowl and set aside. The sauce can be made two days in advance and stored in the refrigerator in a tightly sealed container. Bring to room temperature before using.

Spiced Rice
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 small Spanish onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 cinnamon sticks
6 whole cloves
3 cardamom pods
2 cups brown Texmati rice
4¾ cups boiling water

1. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until very soft, about 5 minutes. Add the cinnamon, clove and cardamom and toast in the butter for 2 minutes.

2. Add the rice, stir to coat in the mixture, and cook for 1 minute. Add the boiling water, stir well, bring to a boil, and then reduce to medium-low heat. Cover the pot and cook until the rice is just tender and the liquid has absorbed, about 40 minutes. Remove from the heat and let sit for 10 minutes, covered. Remove the lid, transfer the rice to a large bowl, and fluff with a fork.

Chicken Casserole
¼ cup Greek yogurt
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lime
2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
3 cloves garlic, peeled and grated
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 skinless boneless chicken thighs
¼ cup canola oil
¼ cup chopped cilantro
¼ cup toasted slivered almonds, chopped
4 hard-cooked eggs, halved lengthwise
1 lime, cut into eighths

1. Whisk together the yogurt, zest, juice, ginger, garlic, salt and pepper in a medium bowl or baking dish. Add the chicken and turn to coat the thighs in the marinade. Cover well and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours. (The longer you marinate, the better the flavor!)

2. Remove the chicken from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Season on both sides with salt and pepper.

3. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large Dutch oven until it begins to shimmer. Sear the chicken on both sides until golden brown, about 4 minutes per side. Remove the chicken to a plate. Wipe out the pot with paper towels, getting rid of any burnt pieces that may be stuck to the bottom.

4. Add the cooked spiced rice and the curry sauce to the pan, and toss to coat the rice in the sauce. Nestle the chicken into the rice, covering the chicken partly with some of the rice. Cover with foil, then put the lid on and bake in the oven until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce has thickened, about 45 minutes. During the last 10 minutes of cooking, remove the lid. Remove from the oven and let rest 10 minutes before serving.

5. Mix together the cilantro and almonds in a small bowl. Nestle the eggs into the rice, sprinkle the top with the cilantro-almond relish, and garnish with lime wedges.