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What to Cook Tonight: Chicken with Basmati Rice

Rachel Allen’s Chicken Legs with Basmati Rice and Caramelised Onion and Herbs

Serves 4-6

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When I was growing up, my mum was queen of the one-pot meals. This is my Indian/Middle-Eastern version of her chicken and rice suppers. I love the convenience of a pilau – an Indian or Middle-Eastern dish of rice cooked in stock that typically has added vegetables, seafood or meat. This version has chicken legs and sweet, golden caramelised onions, which balance perfectly with the zingy lemon and oodles of fresh herbs.

Ingredients
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
4 chicken legs, divided into drumsticks and thighs, if you wish
4 onions, sliced
4 garlic cloves, finely sliced
4 tbsp thyme leaves
350g basmati rice
150ml chicken stock
zest and juice of 1 lemon
4 tbsp chopped parsley
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method
Heat the olive oil in a flameproof casserole over a medium heat. Fry all the chicken pieces with a sprinkle of salt and pepper, turning occasionally, until golden all over. This should take 10-15 minutes to get the chicken partially cooked. Remove the chicken and set aside.

Put the sliced onions into the pan with the fat left from frying the chicken. Cook over a low heat for 45 minutes or until they turn a dark golden caramel colour, stirring frequently to prevent them sticking and burning.

Add the garlic and thyme leaves and cook for 2-3 minutes to soften slightly. Add the rice to the onions and stir to coat the rice with the oily mixture.Bring the stock to the boil in a saucepan. Return the chicken to the casserole with the lemon zest, then pour in the boiling stock. Add another sprinkle of salt and pepper, cover the pan with a lid and cook over a low heat for 25 minutes or until the rice is tender and the chicken is cooked.

Bring the stock to the boil in a saucepan. Return the chicken to the casserole with the lemon zest, then pour in the boiling stock. Add another sprinkle of salt and pepper, cover the pan with a lid and cook over a low heat for 25 minutes or until the rice is tender and the chicken is cooked.

Finally, squeeze the lemon juice over and sprinkle the chopped parsley on top. Serve immediately with a large green salad.

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Extracted from Recipes from My Mother by Rachel Allen (HarperCollins, approx €24). Photography by Maja Smend.

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