With the flavours of a Moroccan tagine, this quick and easy one-pot is perfect for a mid-week meal. I’m using a ready-made harissa paste to add a depth of flavour and a smoky chilli kick.
- 50 g pistachios or flaked almonds
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 red onion, cut into 8 wedges
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 8 skinless and boneless chicken thighs
- 1–2 tbsp rose harissa paste (see Note)
- 350 g basmati rice
- 80 g soft dried apricots, halved
- 700 ml chicken stock, plus extra as needed
- 1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander leaves
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6.
2. In a large casserole over a medium heat, toast the pistachios or almonds for 1–2 minutes. Keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t burn. Remove to a bowl and set aside.
3. Heat the oil in the casserole over a medium heat, add the red onion and cook for 4–6 minutes until softened but not coloured. Add the turmeric and cook for 30 seconds until fragrant, then add the chicken and cook for 4–6 minutes, turning until browned all over. Stir through the harissa paste, then add the rice, apricots and stock. Add the cinnamon stick, season with salt and a generous grinding of black pepper and stir.
4. Bring to the boil, then remove from the heat, cover with a lid and bake in the oven for 20–25 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the rice is tender. Check halfway through the cooking time and add a little more stock if needed.
5. Remove the cinnamon stick, stir in the toasted pistachios or almonds, chopped coriander and check the seasoning. Serve garnished with coriander sprigs.
• Rose harissa gives a special sweetness and aroma, but you can use ordinary harissa if you prefer and you can add more or less depending on how spicy you like it.
Extracted from Ainsley’s Mediterranean Cookbook, by Ainsley Harriott (Ebury Press). Photography by Dan Jones.