I am constantly looking for filling and uncomplicated recipes to make for my two small children. It is a tough assignment to find meals which are compatible with their delicate little taste buds, which are not wildly unhealthy and which adults are happy to eat too.
One Sunday afternoon, with little more than a couple of pieces of chicken in the fridge, some rice in the store cupboard and two very hungry but rather fussy kids, I concocted something in desperation. Risotto was too time-consuming (and I didn't have the correct kind of rice anyway) but a pilaff seemed eminently do-able. I decided to use a little cinammon and allspice which add a lovely warm, aromatic flavour and some turmeric to make everything look a little more, well, yellow.
It worked so well that now they plead with me to make my chicken and rice dish. The only modification I have made since that first day has been to add some grated carrot to up the vegetable content. If I am making the dish for adults I garnish it with some snipped chives (or yucky green stuff as the kids describe it).
● Six chicken thighs; skinned, boned and diced
● One large cup basmati rice
● One medium onion
● Three cloves garlic
● One carrot
● 1½ large cups hot chicken stock (fresh or from a cube)
● 1 teaspoon cinnamon
● 1 teaspoon allspice
● ½ teaspoon turmeric
● Salt and black pepper
● 1 tbsp olive oil
● To garnish: chopped chives (optional)
● Chop the onion and garlic and peel and grate the carrot.
● Sweat the garlic, onion and carrot gently in a medium saucepan with the olive oil until the carrot is soft and the onion translucent
● Turn up to three-quarter heat and add the chicken. Cook with the vegetables until it has begun to turn white. Add the rice and the spices.
● Turn in the pan for 30 seconds or so until the rice is coated with oil.
● Season to taste.
● Add the hot stock to the pan and bring to the boil. Put the lid on the pan and turn the heat down to minimum.
● Cook for 15 to 20 minutes until the stock has been absorbed and the rice is soft and fluffy.
● Garnish with chives and serve.