This is one of those rare occasions when I will be able to write about a recipe I cooked recently... as in last night. With leftovers for tonight, too, because I cooked enough for two days. I must confess that I was a bit apprehensive at first because I have never made risotto, but the way it came out was worth the effort (maybe next time I will add in a little bit more of water so that it’s less sticky. It wasn’t bad, but the grain wasn’t as loose as I normally like my rice to be). It there was a prize for pretty dishes, I would have entered this recipe when it came out of the oven. All credit goes to Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.
Baked chicken with tomatoes and rice
This is a take on chicken cacciatore. Serves six.
1 tbsp olive oil
1 chicken, jointed into 6 pieces (or 6 bone-in, skin-on chicken portions)
2 onions, peeled and chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 tsp dried oregano
125g risotto rice, such as arborio
150ml dry white wine
1 tbsp tomato purée
400g tinned tomatoes, crushed
500ml chicken stock
About 150g black or green olives (optional)
A little fresh thyme, to finish
Heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Put a large frying pan on a medium-high heat and add the oil. Season the chicken pieces well and, in two batches, brown in the hot pan. Transfer to a large oven dish, skin side up, and when all the chicken is browned, roast it for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, turn the heat right down under the frying pan. If need be, pour off any excess fat (you want only one to two tablespoons of fat left in the pan). Add the onions and sweat gently for 10 minutes, until soft, then add the garlic and oregano, and cook for a few minutes more.
Stir in the rice for a minute or two, then add the wine and increase the heat so it is bubbling. Simmer for a couple of minutes, stirring, until the liquid has evaporated. Stir in the tomato purée, then add the tinned tomatoes and stock, and bring back to a boil. Season to taste.
All this should fill the chicken's initial 20 minutes' cooking. Tip the rice mix into the chicken dish, making sure no grains are left on top of the meat, where they won't cook. Scatter in the olives, if using, and roast for 30 minutes longer, by which time the rice should be swollen and tender. Leave to sit for 10-15 minutes, check the seasoning, scatter with thyme and serve.
The music to go with this dish must look and sound good. That’s why my first choice is Terence Trent D’Arby’s sultry Sign Your Name. 1988 was a good vintage year for pop music. Whilst Sting was trotting around New York like the Englishman he was, Manhattan-born D’Arby was releasing his debut album Introducing the Hardline According to Terence Trent D’Arby. One of the hit singles was Sign Your Name, which in its own way makes me think of that lovely chicken getting browned on all sides.
We continue with Iron and Wine, the stage name of Samuel Beam, a Californian singer-songwriter. His songs, like Winter Prayers, are the sort of melodies that make autumn all the more beautiful and dishes like baked chicken with tomatoes and rice all the more enjoyable.
I don’t know about you but when I see chicken sizzling on the pan it makes think of Brazilian music, especially of percussion. USA-born but Rio de Janeiro resident Maga Bo is one of the better examples of what the phenomenon of globalisation can do to music as long as there is sharing and not conquest. No Balanço da Canoa is one of those tunes that will keep you tapping your feet and shaking your shoulders slowly.
I leave you tonight with a slow, beautifully crafted short blues number. John Lee Hooker’s Tupelo reminds me of that chicken, risotto and tomatoes baking nicely in the oven. I hope you enjoyed tonight’s mix of food and music.
Photo taken from The Guardian
Next Post: “Sunday
Mornings: Coffee, Reflections and Music”, to be published on Sunday 17th
November at 10am (GMT)