Friday, November 07, 2008

Bonnie's Chicken Fattah

Bonnie’s Chicken Fattah
From Bonnie Stern Friday Night Dinners

This is a fantastic winter meal. It looks complicated but, trust me, it's really quite a simple meal to put together. The only thing to really consider is that the rice is brown and so needs 40-45 minutes to cook. All that means is you put the Mujedrah (rice & lentils) up about an hour before serving and then work on the other elements which are really quick to prepare and can be done sequentially.

Since there are 4 elements to this dish I’m going to give time guidelines separately.

Serves 8-10 ( I made this dish for the two of us, and wanted leftovers, so I used 4 chicken breasts, half the mujedrah and all the tahina and tomato sauces.)

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 60 minutes

Bonnie suggests grilling or roasting for 30-40 minutes but my grill pan had the chicken done in less than 20 (actually about 6 minutes per side…it is boneless, after all and I used white meat)
Prep time: 5 minutes
Resting/marinating time: 5 – 30 minutes (really just while you’re getting the sauce ready)
Cooking time: 15-40 minutes, depending on how you do it.

Moroccan Tomato Sauce:
Prep time
: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 15-20 minutes

Tahina Sauce
Prep time: 5 minutes


2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 large onions, thinly sliced (the food processor with a thin slicing blade cuts down on the crying)
2 cups mixed brown rice, rinsed
1 cup green lentils, rinsed
5 cups water
2 tsp kosher salt (sounds like a lot, but I cut it in half and needed to add more at the end)

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1-2 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp sumac (if you can’t find it, Bonnie suggests grated lemon peel)
2 tsp fresh garlic, minced
4lb/2kg boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts

Moroccan Tomato Sauce:
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 tsp ground cumin, toasted (just sauté in a dry non-stick skillet over medium heat for a few minutes. It’s ready when you can smell the aroma)
Aleppo pepper (Bonnie called for a pinch, I used a tsp…so it all depends on you. Red chili pepper flakes work too)
1 tin (28oz/796ml) plum tomatoes with juices, pureed or chopped (I used Muir’s fire roasted tomates)
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp lemon juice
Salt & pepper to taste

Tahina Sauce:
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1/3 cup tahina
¼ cup lemon juice
½ cup water
½ tsp hot red pepper sauce (I actually just used more ground Aleppo pepper. I loved the look of the flecks of red in the beige)

3 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
3 tbsp toasted pine nuts


1. Heat oil in a large deep skillet (I actually used my Dutch oven) over medium high heat. Add the onions and cook for 15-20 minutes or until very brown, with some of the onions slightly blackish in places. Remove half the onions from the pan and reserve.

2. Add rice to the onions in the pan and cook for a few minutes to coat them in the onion, oil mixture. Add the lentils, water, and salt and bring to a boil. Cover and lower the heat. Cook gently for 40-45 minutes or until tender. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Moroccan Tomato Sauce:
1. While the Mujedrah is cooking, take a large deep skillet, preferably non-stick for easier cleanup, and heat the oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook gently for about 5 minutes until soft but not browned…and watch the garlic which can burn if the pan is too hot.

2. Add cumin and Aleppo pepper or chili pepper flakes and cook for 30 seconds or so…you’ll get that lovely cumin aroma. Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Cook gently, stirring occasionally, uncovered for about 15 minutes or until the sauce is thick. Season with honey, lemon juice and salt & pepper if necessary.

Tahina Sauce:
1. Combine everything in a food processor and pulse until smooth (a minute or two). Taste for seasoning.

1. Combine oil, salt, sumac and garlic in a small bowl. Rub into chicken (I actually did this before starting the rice to act as a marinade of sorts). Grill or roast chicken (400°F/200°C) until cooked through and no longer pink. I used a grill pan on top of the stove and cooked the chicken breasts for 5-6 minutes per side.

To assemble the dish:
Spread Mujedrah on a large platter. Top with chicken and spoon the tomato sauce over it. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and pine nuts and drizzle with tahina sauce.

1 comment:

Mary Coleman said...

This looks absolutely divine. All my favorite foods in one meal. We're definitely trying this soon.