Le Creuset asked me to come up with a one-pot recipe in their signature buffet casserole recently and so this chicken and rice pilaf with orange & spices came about. I’m not the biggest fan of one-pot cooking in general because rarely do proteins, carbohydrates and vegetables cook at the same time in the same way. I’m more of a purist and prefer to cook my rice and pasta separately to the meat and sauce. They can work with a vegetarian dish like an oven risotto and one-pot pilaf as long as you get all the exact ratios correct. I’ve been hard at work perfecting my technique for basmati rice recently, preferring the absorption method to the cooking and then streaming process. I wanted to pack as much flavour into this chicken and rice pilaf as possible so that all the deliciousness liquid gets sucked into the rice. The ingredient list might seem long but it’s really easy to make. I’ve amped up the orange flavour component with orange juice, orange zest and orange marmalade and this goes so well with the chicken and the earthy spices providing a warm base note. At the end of each year I round up my most delicious recipe and I already know this is going straight into the 2020 list.
Cooks notes – presoak and rinse the rice anywhere from 15 – 30 minutes depending on the pack instructions. I prefer long-grained basmati rice as I find it ends up fluffier and drier. Add the boiling hot stock and then follow my timings exactly and you should get perfectly absorbed fluffy pilaf rice. If for some reason this doesn’t happen and there is too much liquid after your cooking time, simply return the pot to the stovetop over low heat, and fluff up the rice until the excess moisture has evaporated.
I prefer to use skinless boneless thighs as this the tastiest and most juicy part of the chicken. However, these are expensive, so deboned drums are also a very nice option. Failing that, use chicken breast but these will be drier.
Chicken and rice pilaf with orange & spices
A one pot chicken and rice pilaf packed with orange and aromatic spices.
- Yield: 4 – 6 1x
1 ½ cups long grain basmati rice
500 –600 gms skinless, boneless chicken (pref thigh or drumstick otherwise breast), cut into bite-size pieces
3 Tbsp olive oil
Large knob of butter, 30gms
1 large white onion finely chopped
1 medium carrot grated
1 cinnamon quill
2 star anise pods
3 thyme stalks
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp smoked paprika
Pinch of dried chilli flakes
3 cloves garlic, crushed
½ cup fresh orange juice
3 Tbsp orange marmalade
600ml chicken stock
Zest of an orange
Small handful flatleaf parsley for garnish
Toasted sliced almonds or pistachios (optional)
Soak the basmati in a bowl of cold water for 30 minutes, then rinse well under cold water until the water runs clear and all the starch has been washed off.
While the rice is soaking, preheat your oven to 160C
Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in the Le Creuset 30cm buffet casserole over medium heat. Sauté the chicken pieces until golden brown then set aside.
Melt the butter to the pan set over low heat and add the onions, carrot, cinnamon, star anise and 3 thyme stalks and cook until the onions are translucent. About 5 minutes. Put the lid on the buffet casserole for most of the cooking time to create moisture.
When the onions have softened, add the spices and garlic and cook for about a minute until fragrant. Deglaze the pan with the half a cup of orange juice scraping down any bits stuck to the bottom. Add the marmalade and cook until almost all the liquid has evaporated.
At this point add the rinsed and drained rice and toss to coat for a minute. Add the hot chicken stock and orange zest, increase the heat to medium/high and bring this to a rolling boil and cook for exactly 2 minutes after it starts boiling. Add the chicken back in and lightly toss to evenly distribute. Put the lid on and put the casserole into the oven and cook for 25 minutes. Remove and let it rest for 5 minutes.
Fluff the pilaf up with a fork whilst marvelling at how perfectly separate the rice grains are and remove the cinnamon, star anise pods and thyme stalks and scatter the chopped parsley over the pilaf along with any other chopped nuts you might like (optional). Serve while still hot.
Keywords: one pot, rice, pilaf, chicken, orange, spice
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*Disclaimer – This post was created in collaboration with Le Creuset SA
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