Don’t let the humble name fool you. This recipe makes one big ol’ plate of deliciousness.
For those of you familiar with New York this is a copycat of the chicken and rice that is found at the corner of 53rd and 6th. Friends of mine introduced me to it on one of my NYC trips and can I just say that it was love at first bite? The very reasonable price tag (6 bucks) and sizeable portion also went a long way to making this a must have for my college-student-poor self. You know that’s the kind of poor where you will eat at even the most mediocre cooks’ house for a free meal, where you will find yourself attending club meetings just for the free pizza. I digress. Point is that Chicken and Rice was a winner all around.
Here’s the thing though – I don’t remember how it tastes. It has been a very very long time, so I cannot say how authentic the recipe is, but it is easily one of the best things I have made. What makes this dish extraordinarily fun is that it has so many layers of flavour. There is the buttery yellow rice, the garlicky chicken with its hit of oregano, the cool garlic-dill sauce and the fiery harissa. I made mine from scratch, but that is because I could not find one in store. I think this would also work well with Sambal Oelek. Then again I think everything works well with Sambal Oelek.
Before I go onto the recipe here’s a quick shout out to my friend Maryam who first brought this recipe to my attention and recommended this combination of recipes for the different components. I did have to take some short cuts, for the non shortcut version I am including the links to each recipe. Don’t let the components intimidate you – the actual cooking time is very little. The Harissa and White Sauce can also be made a day in advance.
Note: I have changed the Harissa recipe a little to make it easier to make in a mini blender and to make it a little less spicy, mind you it is still very very very spicy!!! (June 8, 2015)
Chicken and Rice
4 Large Servings
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon fresh oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
3 garlic cloves
1/4 cup light olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 ½ pound chicken breast diced into 1.5 inch cubes
Generous dollop yogurt – I used greek since I had it on hand (for the white sauce)
1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 cups long-grain or Basmati rice
3 1/2 cups chicken broth (low sodium)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
ER’s White Sauce:
10 oz. Greek yogurt
1/2 c. mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. white or red wine vinegar
1.5 Tbsp. lemon juice (½ lemon)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1-2 tsp dill (dry or fresh)
1 tbsp cold water
Salt to taste
Harissa (Spicy Sauce):
10-12 dried red chili peppers
7 cloves garlic, minced
3/4-1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoon ground coriander
1.5 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 teaspoon cumin
1 tsp paprika powder
1 tbsp vinegar/lemon juice
Iceberg Lettuce cut into large chunks for serving
For the chicken: Combine all the ingredients – minus the chicken in a blender. Blend, taste, season, and marinade the chicken in this mix for 1-4 hours.
I then cooked it in a saucepan until tender. The when it was time to eat I spread it out on a lightly greased foil lined baking sheet, moved the oven rack to the upper level of the oven and broiled the chicken for 2-3 minutes to get a char.
For the rice: Melt the butter over medium heat in a large Dutch oven. Add the turmeric and cumin and cook until fragrant, but not browned, about 1 minute. Add the rice and stir to coat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the rice is lightly toasted, about 4 minutes. Add the chicken broth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Raise the heat to high and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes check on it, if the rice has not cooked through then add a splash of water and continue to let it cook tightly covered.
White Sauce: Whisk all the ingredients together. Taste, adjust seasoning.
Harissa: Soak the dried chilies in hot water for 30 minutes. Drain and deseed. Use your kitchen shears to snip the chillies into a small food processor (I used my magic bullet) and blitz with the olive oil. Then add the remaining ingredients and blend to form a smooth paste. Taste – adjust seasoning if necessary, mine was pretty spicy so I used it in moderation.
When you’re ready to eat then plate your rice, top with chicken, drizzle with white sauce, serve the hot sauce on the side or drizzle it across the top as well. Add some iceberg on the side and enjoy. Mmmmm…