Chicken with Caramelized Onion and Cardamom Rice

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from Jerusalem: A Cookbook

In Jerusalem, Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi explore the vibrant cuisine of their home city-with its diverse Muslim, Jewish, and Christian communities. Both men were born in Jerusalem in the same year-Tamimi on the Arab east side and Ottolenghi in the Jewish west. This stunning cookbook offers 120 recipes from their unique cross-cultural perspective, from inventive vegetable dishes to sweet, rich desserts. With five bustling restaurants in London and two stellar cookbooks, Ottolenghi is one of the most respected chefs in the world; in Jerusalem, he and Tamimi have collaborated to produce their most personal cookbook yet.

Chicken with Caramelized Onion and Cardamom Rice

Recipe type: Yield: 4-5 Prep time: Cook time: Total time:

An entree favorite of Cathy Thomas and adapted from Jerusalem: A Cookbook.


4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided use
2 medium-large yellow onions, halved, thinly sliced
2 1/4 pounds skin-on bone-in chicken thighs, see cook’s notes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
10 whole cardamom pods
4 teaspoon whole cloves
2 long cinnamon sticks, each broken in two
1 2/3 cups raw basmati rice
1/4 cup currants
2 1/4 cups boiling water
3 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley, divided use
1/2 cup fresh dill, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
Optional garnish: 1/2 cup plain Greek-style yogurt mixed with 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Cook’s notes: I like to trim away excess skin that hangs over the sides of the meat, leaving about a 2-to 3-inch wide piece of skin atop the chicken thighs.


  1. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in large deep skillet or Dutch oven on medium heat. Add onions; cook until deep golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 10 to 15 minutes. Place in small bowl and wipe out pan.
  2. Place chicken in large bowl and season with 1 1/2 teaspoons each salt and pepper. Add remaining oil, cardamom, cloves and cinnamon; use clean hands to mix together well. Heat pan again and place chicken (skin side down) and oil-spice mixture in it.
  3. Sear chicken 5 minutes per side and remove from pan (this is important because it partially cooks the chicken). The spices can stay in the pan but don’t worry if some spices stick to the chicken. Remove most of the oil in the pan, leaving behind a thin layer of it. Add rice, caramelized onion, 1 teaspoon salt and plenty of black pepper. Add currants and stir well; return seared chicken (skin-side up) in single layer, pushing them down into the rice.
  4. Add boiling water over the rice and chicken; cover and cook on low heat for 30 minutes. Take pan off heat, remove lid and quickly place a clean tea towel over the pan and seal again with the lid. Leave undisturbed for another 10 minutes.
  5. Add herbs, using half of the parsley. Use a fork to fluff the rice. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed. Serve hot or warm, each serving topped with a good dollop of yogurt and some chopped parsley.

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