Oooh! Two of my favourite Middle Eastern foods made in one skillet! The spice rubbed chicken is seared to brown the skin and also to render out the fat. Then it’s plonked on a fragrant rice with chickpeas and baked so the gorgeous juices from the chicken mingles with the rice….
My family will rib me for sharing yet another Middle Eastern recipe. And yet another one skillet recipe! I love that they have no control over what I post. Unlike deciding the menu for our regular family dinners. The number of emails that fly back and forth as we argue over what the menu will be and who is making what…..
Oh boy. It’s ridiculous. Absolute undeniable evidence that I was born into a foodie family!
Chicken Shawarma is one of my most requested recipes. By my friends, that is. No one in my family has ever asked me for this recipe. It’s a matter of principle. They can’t make fun of how often I make Middle Eastern dishes then come crawling to me for my secret Chicken Shawarma recipe!
It’s not-so-secret anymore anyway because I shared my stovetop / BBQ Chicken Shawarma recipe last year – you can find it here. Hmm. I wonder if anyone in my family has used the recipe? 😉
One of the reasons I love Chicken Shawarma so much is because I think that the effort vs flavour is off the charts. Just a handful of spices packs a serious punch! And it is spices that I always have in stock – cumin, coriander, paprika and cardamon. Sometimes I add cayenne pepper too, for a bit of a kick (I’ve made it optional for this recipe).
So it was just a matter of time before I created a one pot version of Chicken Shawarma. Well, not one pot. One skillet. At least, that’s what I used, but it can definitely be made in a pot too! In fact, this is ideal to make in a dutch oven.
The wonderful benefit of cooking the chicken and the rice together in one pot is that the juices of the chicken drips down into the rice as they cook. So basically, the rice is being cooked with the best stock in the world! There is so much flavour in the rice, honestly, I’d be happy to forgo the chicken and just have the rice for dinner!
Well actually, that’s just a blatant lie. I’m not passing on the chicken. I want BOTH!
The pilaf is adapted from a recipe by the great Yotam Ottolenghi, from his cookbook Jerusalem. It’s flavoured with a touch of cardamon and a couple of cinnamon sticks and the fragrance is delicate and exotic.
Because the spice rub for the chicken is so intense, it isn’t necessary to marinate for very long. Though it certainly would benefit from marinating overnight. As long as you get a bit of skin with each bite of chicken, there is plenty of flavour, so I rarely marinate it. I consider this to be my midweek version.
We’re half way through the week! Back Friday with something delish for the weekend.
– Nagi x
- 1 large garlic clove, minced (or 2 small cloves)
- 1½ tsp ground coriander
- 1½ tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground cardamom
- 1 tsp smoked paprika (or ordinary is fine)
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
- ½ tsp salt
- Black pepper
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- 5 chicken thigh fillets, bone in, skin on - about 2 lb / 1kg in total (Note 1)
- ½ tbsp olive oil
- 1 small onion, finely diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1½ cups long grain rice (Note 2)
- 1½ cups chicken broth (or water)
- 2 cups water
- ¾ - 1 tsp salt
- Black pepper
- 1½ tsp cardamon powder
- 2 cinnamon sticks (or ½ tsp cinnamon powder)
- 14oz / 400g can chickpeas, drained (1 can)
- ¼ cup raisins or sultanas (optional)
- Yoghurt (plain, unsweetened. Greek yoghurt is great)
- Cilantro/coriander leaves, roughly chopped
- Parsley leaves, roughly chopped
- Preheat oven to 180C/350F.
- Mix the Spice Rub ingredients together in a small bowl. Slather onto the chicken, covering both sides.
- Optional: Marinate for at least 1 hour, up to 24 hours. (Note 3)
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the chicken, skin side down, and cook for 5 minutes on each side, or until light golden brown.
- Remove chicken from skillet. Scrape off excess black bits stuck to the pan and discard, along with excess oil (but leave some to cook the onion).
- Add garlic and onion. Cook for 2 minutes until translucent.
- Add rice and stir so the grains are coated in oil and become a bit translucent.
- Add remaining ingredients. Place the chicken on top - it should be half submerged with the skin above the surface. Pour in the juices from the plate as well.
- Bring to simmer, then place a lid on (or cover with foil) and transfer to oven.
- Bake for 35 minutes, then remove the lid and bake for a further 10 minutes.
- Remove from the oven. Let it rest for 5 minutes.
- Remove chicken from the rice and mix the rice quickly (to evenly distribute flavour).
- Serve, garnished with cilantro/coriander and parsley if desired. I also like to serve it with a bit of plain yoghurt. (Note 4)
- Drumsticks and large breast fillets - follow recipe
- Small to medium chicken breast fillets - bake for 25 to 35 minutes, so put it in the oven 10 to 15 minutes after the rice has been in the oven
- Boneless skinless thigh fillets - put in oven on the rice after the rice has been in the oven for 15 minutes
Also, if you want to make this with chicken breast fillets, add 1 tbsp of olive oil to the Marinade, otherwise it will be too dry to sear.
2. This can be made with white long grain or medium grain rice. Jasmin and basmati will work too. Short grain white rice can be used as a last resort. This recipe is not suitable for arborio (risotto rice), calasparra (paella rice) or brown rice (takes too long to cook in the oven).
3. The flavours of the spice rub are quite strong. So as long as you get a bit of skin/chicken surface with each bite, there is plenty of flavour even without marinating. Plus, because it is half braised, there is extra flavour from the braising liquid too.
4. Yoghurt - you can fancy up the yoghurt a bit if you want. If I'm cooking for company, I will make a yoghurt sauce with 1½ cups of yoghurt, 1 minced garlic clove, 2 tbsp lemon juice, salt and pepper.
5. This makes more rice than for 5 servings. I think it makes enough for 7 servings.
The nutrition analysis below takes into account that I discard 3 tablespoons of fat that rendered out when I browned the chicken and that this recipe makes enough rice for 7 servings.