Saturday, January 28, 2012

Serious Eats' Halal Cart-Style Chicken And Rice With White Sauce

The Chopping Block came over and gave me all sorts of Indian spices. I'm talking about like 20 pounds worth of Indian spices! She's so nice, right?! So I decided to make some sort of quasi Middle Eastern/Indian food. I saw this Serious Eats recipe a while back and bookmarked it. Now that I have my turmeric and ground coriander powder, I have no excuse not to make it.


For the chicken:
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano*
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped (about 1 1/2 tablespoons)
1/4 cup light olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat (6 to 8 thighs)
1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil

For the rice:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/2 cups long-grain or Basmati rice
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the sauce:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley*
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

To serve:
1 head iceberg lettuce, shredded**
1 large tomato, cut into wedges
Fluffy pocketless pita bread, brushed in butter, lightly toasted, and cut into 1 × 3-inch strips**
Harissa-style hot sauce***

* I was too lazy to get fresh herbs, so I used dried herbs.
** I was too lazy to get iceberg lettuce and pita bread. Are you sensing a pattern here?
*** I have sriracha. Good enough, right?

1. Chicken: Combine the lemon juice, oregano, coriander, garlic, and olive oil in a blender. Blend until smooth. Season the marinade to taste with kosher salt and black pepper. Place the chicken in a 1-gallon zipper-lock bag and add half of the marinade (reserve the remaining marinade in the refrigerator). Turn the chicken to coat, seal the bag, and marinate the chicken in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours, turning occasionally to redistribute the marinade. Do not marinate the chicken longer than 4 hours or it’ll get a mushy texture. If you must delay cooking the chicken for any reason, remove it from the marinade, pat it dry with paper towels, and refrigerate until ready to cook.

2. Remove the chicken from the bag and pat it dry with paper towels. Season with kosher salt and pepper, going heavy on the pepper. I decided to bake the chicken instead of pan frying it like the recipe called for. This is because I am lazy, and there's so much chicken that I would have to do it in batches. So I greased up a half baking sheet and put my chicken on.

3. I set the oven to 350 degrees, and I set the timer to bake the chicken for 30 minutes. I was in the office and didn't hear the timer go off, so I think the chicken baked for 45 minutes or something ridiculous. It was a little dry, but it was alright. Let the chicken rest and then cut it up to 1/2- to 1/4-inch chunks. Transfer to a medium bowl, add the remaining marinade, cover loosely with plastic, and refrigerate while you cook the rice and prepare the sauce.

4. Rice: Even though I have a dutch oven, I decided to not follow the recipe (which meant making it in a dutch oven). I decided that I was lazy and I was going to use my rice cooker. I dumped the rice, turmeric, cumin, salt, pepper, and chicken broth into the rice cooker. I made sure to mix the rice so the spices were distributed evenly and then I turned the rice cooker on.

The rice was peeeerrrrfect. It was nice and fluffy and everything. For the amount of chicken broth, I actually just used the measuring guidelines from my rice cooker, so I'm not too sure if it was 2-1/2 cups or not. Oops, my bad.

5. Sauce: In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, yogurt, sugar, vinegar, lemon juice, parsley, and 2 teaspoons black pepper. Whisk to combine. Season to taste with salt. To be honest, I ran out of mayonnaise, so I only had 1/4 cup of it. So I filled the rest with Fage 2% Greek yogurt.


6. To serve: Return the entire contents of the chicken bowl (chicken, marinade, and all juices) to the skillet. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until heated through. To serve, divide the rice, lettuce, tomato, and toasted pita bread evenly among four to six plates. Pile the chicken on top of the rice. Top with the white sauce and hot sauce. Serve immediately, passing extra sauce at the table.

Here's a photo of the rice, chicken, sliced tomatoes, and globs of white sauce. It was delicious. I had planned on topping it all off with a fried egg and some hot sauce, but I forgot! I'm a totally failure! :( Oh well! It was still delicious as is.

On the bright side, here is the Chopping Block cleaning my dishes. It was awesome. I am lazy. Did we already establish that?

So I enjoyed this meal so much that I've actually made it on repeat for like a week. Ridiculous, right? I was seriously obsessed with eating this for every meal. I've switched up the oregano with some fresh cilantro because I just felt that oregano is too... Italian for this dish. I think it came out pretty decent with cilantro. I also decided to add some horseradish to the mix just for kicks. It was alright. I added lots of sriracha too, which was awwwwwwesome. That stuff is so awesome!

Oh, also, no, my chicken was never halal. Gasp. Hope the title wasn't confusing!