Upturned Chicken and Rice
Walk through the medinas of Morocco and your senses come alive with the aromas from food stalls and people sharing meals together around low around tables. This dish is designed as a centre for mezze dining, served alongside a selection of flat breads, and other small delicious bites, and bowls of hummus, minty yoghurt, and pickled vegetables. Prepare everything in advance and sit back and enjoy easy the feasting.
- 200g basmati rice
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 500g minced chicken
- 1 small aubergine, finely sliced
- 2 tsp allspice
- 2 spring onions, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
- 1/2 cup currants
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- zest of 2 lemons
- 1 tbsp honey
- Prepare the spicy chicken, aubergine and rice separately before assembling the dish. To do so, lightly grease a medium sized glass bowl (preferably) with olive oil in preparation for assembly.
- Wash rice in cold water to remove some of the starch and leave to soak for about 30 minutes. Drain the rice and cook in a saucepan of well salted water - enough to just cover the rice. Boil rice for 5 to 8 minutes, before reducing the heat and cooking for a further 10 minutes on low. Make sure the pan is covered with a tight-fitting lid. Don't lift off the lid as this will release the steam needed to fluff the rice.
- Soak the saffron threads in a couple of tablespoons of warm water before adding the liquid and stems to the cooked rice.
- To prepare the chicken, heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan and gently cook aubergine and minced chicken over a moderate heat until aubergines are softened. Stir in the spices and allow aromas to infuse before stirring in remaining ingredients. Season to taste. In a separate saucepan heat the honey and add lemon zest (or finely sliced lemon rind if you do not have a zester) and gently caramelise before combining with the spicy chicken.
- To build dish, spoon a layer of saffron rice into the greased glass bowl. Then spoon in a layer of chicken. Repeat until you have either filled the bowl or run out of both mixtures! Press down on the last layer of rice before inverting directly onto the serving dish. Sprinkle this mound of loveliness with toasted almonds and plenty of freshly ground pepper.