I once developed a cheesecake recipe that caused my sailing instructor to propose to me upon completion of his first slice. Some edibles are just like that.
The first meal my husband cooked for me he would probably just call chicken and rice, but I call it taste bud heaven. The taste is somewhat like a fricassee and the ingredients are simple so I think it’s the technique that made it so swoony and lip smacking. I should have known there and then that this was the start of an extraordinary relationship.
1 whole chicken cut into 8 pieces
1/4 cup olive oil
1 can cooked chick peas, drained and rinsed
peeled whole garlic cloves from a whole head of garlic (about 20)
1-2 quarts of chicken stock
4-5 splashes of hot sauce (Tabasco or something like it)
1 Tablespoon curry powder
lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste (about 1/3 cup for me)
Pour the olive oil into the bottom of a large pot or dutch oven. Liberally salt and pepper the chicken pieces and toss them in the pan. Then toss everything else except the chickpeas into the pot and bring to a boil. (When you start the liquid should at least be at a level to cover the chicken completely and leave an inch of stock to spare.) When the liquid is reduced by half, toss in the chickpeas.
Let this mixture boil vigorously until the level of liquid in the pan reduces enough that the chicken pieces are sitting on the bottom of the pot and breaking out of the liquid (which takes about 40 minutes). At this point turn the heat down just a little, ladle out about a cup and a half of the reduced broth, and begin turning the chicken pieces every few minutes so they brown evenly on all sides. You’ll want to use tongs for this because the chicken will be really tender and want to fall off the bone. The chickpeas will toast a little too. That’s a good thing. When the chicken pieces are browned, pour the reduced stock back in to deglaze the pan.
Pour over basmati rice and serve with a bowl of yogurt into which you’ve stirred a half teaspoon of salt, a crushed garlic clove and a tablespoon of fresh mint leaves. (If you’re the recipient of this tasty treat, kiss the cook…repeatedly. I certainly did.)
Don’t bother. This dish is perfect as is.