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Tuesday: Winter Citrus Chicken with Spiced Basmati Rice

This dish reminds me of my early days in SF when I first went to El Mansour. My little Yankee palette was blown away by familiar spices combined in a whole new way.  Don't let the ingredients scare you off of this rice - its so simple. You may have to buy a whole jar of cinnamon sticks and cardamom pods but, believe me, you will make this again and again. It's just that good.
Serves 4     Prep: 20     Cooking: 45


For the Chicken
4 lbs chicken, bone-in, skin-on (4-6 breasts)
1¼ teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon cracked red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2/3 cup good olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves), plus 12 cloves
2 small oranges, one quartered and one sliced
For the Rice
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1 cup basmati rice1 cinnamon stick
1 cardamom pod
2 slices fresh ginger, 1/8” thick
2 tablespoons dried currants
Kosher salt
For the Peas
10-12 oz frozen peas
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
Salt & pepper


Prep Opportunity
Plump the currants. Place currants in a small bowl with 1/4 cup very hot water.
Heat oven to 400° F.
Rinse the chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Place in a roasting pan. If its too crowded, use a rimmed baking sheet.
In a small bowl, combine the thyme, red pepper, 3/4 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of the black pepper.
Coat the chicken with 1 1/2 tablespoons of the oil and sprinkle with the chopped garlic and spice mixture.
Arrange the whole garlic cloves and orange pieces under and around the chicken.
Roast until the chicken is cooked through, 35 to 40 minutes (160º).
In a large, deep frying pan or saute pan with a lid, warm together the olive oil and shallot over low heat. Cook, stirring, until the shallot is wilted, about 3 minutes.
Add the rice and stir until the kernels are evenly coated with the oil and are warmed, about 3 minutes. Add 2 cups water and the cinnamon stick, cardamom pod, ginger, and ½ teaspoon salt. Raise the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Stir once, reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook, without stirring, until small craters form on the surface of the rice, indicating that all the water has been absorbed, and the rice is tender, 15-18 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the peas in 2 cups of water over medium heat for 10 minutes.
Carefully lift the cover of the rice pan so that no condensation drips into the rice. Stir in the currants and remove from heat.
Remove cinnamon stick, cardamom pod and ginger coins from rice.
Drain the peas and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper.
Divide the chicken and garlic among individual plates and squeeze the roasted orange halves over the top. Serve with the peas and rice.