CHICKEN & RICE CASSEROLE
Simple, comforting, one-pot chicken and rice dinner with a tasty Middle Eastern twist.
This is my comfort food of choice.
The rice is full of flavor and the chicken is falling-off-the-bone in tender rich goodness.
Your fork and stomach are waiting.
4 cups rice
3 ½ tbsp salt
1 large whole chicken
¼ cup olive oil + more for greasing
1 medium yellow onion
¼ cup dried currants
¼ cup fresh dill
1 tbsp garlic
3 tbsp tomato paste
½ tsp sugar
½ tsp ground cardamom
½ tsp cinnamon
2 tsp sweet paprika
4 cups boiling water
Ovenproof pot or Dutch oven
PREHEAT the oven to 315°F.
MIX the rice, 3 cups of water, and 2 tsp of salt in a large bowl, and set aside to soak for 2 hours. Once soaked, drain well and transfer to a bowl.
PAT the chicken dry. Remove the fatty white flap from the chicken cavity and chop It finely. Set aside.
SEASON the chicken inside and out with generous amounts of salt and pepper.
HEAT the oil In a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and brown until the skin turns golden, about 5-7 minutes each side. Remove from pot and set aside.
REDUCE the heat to medium, add the onion and chopped chicken fat, and saute, until the chicken fat melts and the onion is soft, 7 to 8 minutes. Add the dried currants, dill, tomato paste, and sugar and cook. Remove from heat and transfer the mixture to the bowl of rice.
SEASON with the cardamom, cinnamon, paprika, and 2 tbsp of salt and mix until well combined.
WIPE the pot and lightly slick It with oil. Add a layer of the rice mixture to the bottom of the pot (about ½ inch thick). Place the chicken on the rice, breast-side up, and spread the rest of the rice mixture around and over the chicken. Gently pour the boiling water over the chicken and cover the pan.
BAKE for 2.5 hours. The chicken will be tender and the rice will be soft.
STORAGE: Store any leftovers in an airtight container for 3-4 days in the fridge.
SUBSTITUTIONS: Dill and dried currants are optional.
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