July 17, 2009
This recipe may have a proper name, but in our family it has always been known as Sephardi Chicken and has traditionally been served up at Pesach, even though it contains rice – which is ok if you are Sephardi. It has been a few years now since we had Sephardi Chicken at Pesach, but thinking about it now, I am going to put it on the menu next year.
Chick peas were brought to Spain by the Moors and if one looks at Jewish recipes from the 11th century, the chick pea was a popular ingredient to use. It is a rarity now these days to find chick peas in a Spanish restaurant, but the shops are full of them.
The dish is baked in the oven, so depending on how many you are making it for, you will need a susbtantial sized casserole dish. This recipe is for four people and the cup sizes used are American. You will need chicken breasts on the bone, one red pepper (quartered), one yellow pepper (quartered), half a lemon, an onion (finely chopped), 3-4 cloves of garlic (chopped), 1 quarter cup of white wine, 1 hot red chile pepper, one tin of chickpeas, one sachet of saffron threads or good quality saffron powder, 1 cup rice (basmati), enough chicken stock and large bunch of finely chopped cilantro.
Fry the chicken breasts quickly in olive oil, you just want to brown them up a little, add several grinds of pepper. Transfer to a plate. Now fry up your onion, garlic and chile pepper until the onion has softened. Add the quarters of red and yellow peppers and the chick peas and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Throw in the wine and stir once or twice.
Put the chicken breasts in your casserole dish and pour over the onion/red pepper/chick pea mixture and spread it about. Mix the chicken stock with the saffron and stir well. Add the uncooked rice, and pour the stock over the contents of the casserole. Slice the lemon and tuck the slices into the casserole contents. Make sure the rice is evenly distributed.
Cook in a fairly hot oven for about 20 minutes, checking if more stock is needed. Take out after 20 minutes and with a large slotted spoon, stir the rice to make sure it’s not sticking. Return to the oven with or without more liquid and cook until chicken is done, around 35-45 minutes depending on the size of the chicken.
When you serve make sure each person gets a slice of red and yellow pepper. Dust the plates with the chopped cilantro and enjoy.
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