Monday, February 20, 2012

Halal Chicken with Yellow Rice

This recipe, from Serious Eats, was based on replicating food cart chicken found on the streets of NYC.  And let me tell you, it is insanely good and definitely on par with the authentic dish that comes straight from the cart.  If it was a bit less time-consuming, I would probably make it at least once a week.  The chicken has to be marinated for 1-4 hours before cooking which really gives it that amazing savory flavor.  The yellow rice and tangy white sauce are both great compliments to the chicken.  My mouth is watering just thinking about how much I love this dish...  It doesn't look super fancy, but trust me your guests will love it!

For the chicken-
2 T lemon juice 
1 T chopped fresh oregano 
1 t ground coriander 
3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped (about 1 1/2 tablespoons) 
1/4 cup light olive oil 
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 
2 lbs chicken- half boneless, skinless breasts, and half boneless, skinless thighs, trimmed of excess fat
2 T vegetable or canola oil

For the rice- 
2 tablespoons unsalted butter 
1 teaspoon turmeric 
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin 
2 cups Jasmine rice 
3 cups chicken broth 
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 

For the sauce- 
1/2 cup mayonnaise 
1/2 cup Greek yogurt 
1 tablespoon sugar 
2 tablespoons white vinegar 
1 teaspoon lemon juice 
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley 
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Combine the lemon juice, oregano, coriander, garlic, and olive oil in a food processor . Blend until smooth. Season the marinade to taste with kosher salt and black pepper. Place the chicken in a 1-gallon zipper-lock bag and add half of the marinade (reserve the remaining marinade in the refrigerator). Turn the chicken to coat, seal the bag, and marinate the chicken in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours, turning occasionally to redistribute the marinade.
Begin the rice first when you are ready to cook the chicken.  Melt the butter over medium heat in a medium-large pot. 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 without disturbing. Remove from the heat and allow to rest until the water is completely absorbed and the rice is tender, about 15 minutes.
For the chicken, remove from the bag and pat it dry with paper towels. Season with kosher salt and pepper, going heavy on the pepper. Heat the oil in a 12-inch heavy-bottomed cast iron or stainless-steel skillet over medium-high heat until it is lightly smoking. Add the chicken pieces and cook without disturbing until they are lightly browned on the first side, about 3-4 minutes. Using tongs, flip the chicken. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the chicken is cooked through. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and allow to cool for 5 minutes.  (I had to do two batches)

Roughly chop the chicken into 1/2- to 1/4-inch chunks. Transfer to a medium bowl, add the remaining marinade, cover loosely with plastic until the rice is just about done.
To make the white sauce, combine all ingredients in a bowl with 1 t pepper, and whisk.  Taste for salt.

Finally, when you are about to eat, heat the cast iron over medium-high and return the chicken to the pan.  Cook for a couple minutes, stirring, until the chicken is hot.
Serve the chicken over the yellow rice, with the white sauce and hot sauce on top.  The chicken is so flavorful and juicy, it is really a great way to change up your menu and everyone is sure to love it.

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