Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Baked Spicy Rice & Chicken

Who doesn't love a good risotto?  Well, maybe not your average cooking show contestant; it seems to be the downfall of many of them:=).  I like mine soft and creamy (the rice, not the contestants), and a little bit wet. But - the but is they take a fair bit of time and energy, watching and stirring and watching and stirring...Well, you get the picture.  So here we have a rice dish that is easy, and once in the oven, takes no time or energy from you. 

Obviously, you could never call it a risotto, 'cos it's not one.  But it's really tasty, it has everything in one dish, and you can go off and do your own thang for a while, as it bakes ever so gently in the oven. Ring in the changes as you desire: use bacon instead of chicken, or add raw salmon chunks at the start of baking.  Try your own fave spices, or vegetables.  This is a dish you can happily customise.

delicious and ever so pretty dish 

Serves 4-6:

Original Recipe by Sherry's Pickings


2 tbs extra virgin olive oil

1 large red onion, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

2 small, red chillies, finely chopped (optional)

12 strands of saffron

1 large zucchini (about 300g.), chopped roughly into chunks

300g. cooked, shredded chicken

1 tbs currants

2 tbs barberries or a mix of cranberries and currants

1 tbs flaked almonds

1 tbs pine nuts

1 tbs pistachios

4 cardamom pods, cracked

1/2 - 1 tsp ground cinnamon or 1 cinnamon stick

2-3 dashes of ground Allspice

big! pinch of smoked or plain sea salt flakes

about 10 grinds of black pepper

1 cup Arborio rice (or any short grain rice)

4 cups (1 Litre) of chicken or veg. stock - homemade or a good quality supermarket one

2 tbs (handfuls) of chopped parsley, chives etc - your choice

a big pinch of extra saffron - about 10 strands 

knob of butter about 10-15g.

To Serve:

2 tbs barberries extra

1 tbs currants extra

2-3 handfuls of nuts e.g. flaked almonds, pine nuts, walnuts, pistachios

piece of preserved orange or lemon about 6cm. long, finely chopped, or 1 tbs zest if you don't have the other on hand

extra herbs for serving: chop up your fave herbs to strew over at the end.  I used parsley and chives


Place the oil and onion in a large skillet/frypan on a medium-low heat

Stir for a few minutes then add the garlic, chillies and saffron

Stir for another few minutes then throw in the zucchini chunks

Cook for about 5 minutes till the veg. starts to look tender

Now stir in the chicken, currants, barberries and nuts

Add all the spices - cardamom, cinnamon, Allspice, salt and pepper

Don't forget the rice!  Pour that into the skillet

Add the other herbs, saffron and knob of butter

Combine all the ingredients gently, and tip into a large baking dish with a lid

Place the baking dish onto the middle rack of your oven

Pour in the boiling stock and combine everything gently

Whack on the lid and bake at 185C for about 30 mins.  It may take only 25 mins or perhaps 35; depends on your oven so check after 25 mins.

Strew over the extra fruits, nuts and herbs for serving


Feel free to replace the zucchini with cauliflower or veg. of your choice - or add it as well as the zucchini

You can buy a roasted chook and shred it like I did, or buy about 300g. of breast which you can poach or bake before cooling and chopping into small pieces

The smoked salt and the preserved orange are not essential but add such a depth of flavour, you will want to try them

My own palmful equals 1 tablespoon just FYI :=) 

sunny ingredients gathered

fry up the veg.

stir in the chicken and herbs 

in goes the stock; now bake at 185C for about 30 mins. 

baked and smelling delish 

so pretty, so tasty, so spicy

my Iranian saffron doodle


  1. Hehe yes they do seem to stumble on risotto. I wonder why that is? This looks superb Sherry :)

    1. Thanks Lorraine. Rice can be difficult I guess :)

  2. Sherry, this looks so good and a read of the recipe got my heart beating a bit faster. how easy and delicious!

  3. The brains of some of those contestants are soft and creamy though lol. I used to teach risotto classes at the Ministry of Food and people couldn't believe that it is actually quite easy (but we weren't on MasterChef). This rice dish looks awesome Sherry-very satisfying.

    1. You're right Jem. It's not hard really. Just a bit time consuming. Clever you teaching it :)

  4. LOVE this recipe, Sherry! (Just printed it of.) The smoked salt, preserved orange, and your "sunny ingredients" -- yes, ma'am! Looking forward to taste testing soon.

    1. thanks heaps Kim. it is such a lovely, perfumed dish. i can't wait to try it again with salmon chunks.


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