Our cookbook of the week is Ottolenghi Simple: A Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi. Tomorrow, we’ll feature an interview with its author.
To try another recipe from the book, check out: beet, caraway and goat cheese bread, and cauliflower, pomegranate and pistachio salad.
Yotam Ottolenghi’s slow-cooked chicken with a crisp corn crust is serious comfort food. The filling is rich with peppers and dark chocolate, and the light topping gluten-free by nature.
“It’s the Mexican-North African equivalent of a shepherd’s pie in the sense that you’ve got a crust and you’ve got something bubbling underneath,” says Ottolenghi. “It’s really rich and wonderful in winter, and you can cook it in the winter because it’s absolutely fine with frozen corn as well as fresh corn.”
If you’d like to make this warming dish head, he suggests cooking the chicken up to three days in advance (or a month if freezing; defrost fully before using) but prepare the corn batter fresh and pour over the filling immediately prior to baking.
SLOW-COOKED CHICKEN WITH A CRISP CORN CRUST
M (make ahead)
3 tbsp (45 mL) olive oil
2 medium-large red onions, thinly sliced (5 cups/500 g)
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 tbsp (45 mL) rose harissa (or 50 per cent more or less, depending on variety)
2 tsp (10 mL) sweet smoked paprika
1 lb 14 oz (850 g) boneless, skinless chicken thighs (9 or 10 thighs)
Salt and black pepper
3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp (200 mL) passata (tomato purée)
5 large tomatoes, quartered (14 oz/400 g)
1 1/2 cups (350 mL) water
1 cup (200 g) jarred roasted red peppers, drained and cut into 3/4-inch (2-cm) thick rounds
1/2 oz (15 g) dark chocolate (70 per cent cacao)
1 cup (20 g) cilantro, roughly chopped
5 tbsp (70 g) unsalted butter, melted
Scant 4 cups (500 g) corn kernels, fresh or frozen and defrosted (from 4 large ears corn)
3 tbsp (45 mL) whole milk
3 eggs, yolks and whites separated
Heat the oil in a large sauté pan with a lid over medium-high heat. Add the onions and fry for 8–9 minutes, stirring a few times, until caramelized and soft. Decrease the heat to medium and add the garlic, harissa, paprika, chicken, 1 tsp (5 mL) salt and a good grind of black pepper. Cook for 5 minutes longer, stirring frequently, then add the tomato purée and tomatoes. Add the water, bring to a boil, then simmer over medium heat, covered, for 30 minutes, stirring every once in a while.
Add the peppers and chocolate and continue to simmer for 35–40 minutes, with the pan now uncovered, stirring frequently, until the sauce thickens and the chicken is falling apart. Remove from the heat and stir in the cilantro. If you are serving the chicken as it is (as a stew without the batter), it’s ready to serve (or freeze, once it has come to room temperature) at this stage. If you are making the corn crust, spoon the chicken into a ceramic baking dish — one with high sides that measures about 8 x 12 inches (20 x 30 cm) — and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
To make the batter, pour the butter into a blender with the corn, milk, egg yolks and 3/4 tsp (3 mL) salt. Blitz for a few seconds, to form a rough paste, then spoon into a large bowl. Place the egg whites in a separate clean bowl and whisk to form firm peaks. Fold these gently into the runny corn mixture until just combined, then pour the mix evenly over the chicken.
Bake for 35 minutes, until the top is golden brown. Keep an eye on it after 25 minutes to make sure the top is not taking on too much colour; you might need to cover it with foil for the final 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside for 10 minutes before serving.
Reprinted with permission from Ottolenghi Simple: A Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi, copyright © 2018. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House.