One of the reasons I pop into the kitchen nearly every day is to create or recreate a memory. I feel like… standing over the stove, I can bring back to life a meal, not just in taste, but in feeling, too… like I can feel the heart and laughter inside the food.
It might be that I’m always chasing those good feels or trying to create new good feels in the kitchen. It’s just my way.
This pot of chicken and rice is a memory recreated. My favorite Friday night in Israel a few weeks back was a Shabbat dinner with a friendly family of strangers. Ori and Anna welcomed all of us sun-weary travelers into their home for an incredible table of food (that Anna tenderly mentioned took her three nights after work to prepare).
A big pot of chicken and rice was my favorite dish on the table (before I discovered a lemon pie in the kitchen) and it was only luck that I happened to be seated near the chicken pot for dinner. The dish was spiced with Baharat, a Middle Eastern spice blend that combines black pepper, coriander, cumin, allspice, cloves, cinnamon, paprika, and a few other warming spices. It’s savory and round and brings an incredible comfort-food mood to every dish it touches. Also, no two baharats are the same. Think of all of the differences you may have encountered with garam masala. Spice blends are always unique. (See if you can find Baharat at your grocery. If not, the recipe below includes instructions to make your own version.)
The next day I found Baharat at an old spice market outside of Tel Aviv so I could recreate this dish and it’s warm memories at home. Thanks to Vibe Israel for the incredible introduction to Israel and deep love to Betzavta who so graciously pairs host families with travelers for Shabbat dinner in Israel. If you make it to Israel, you must have Betzavta find you a family to dinner with!
In the meantime, here’s dinner for us. The invitation, of course, is to find some friends (new or old) to share it with.
One-Pot Chicken with rice, lots of spices, a splash of wine and a sprinkle of parsley. It’s simple. It’s supposed to be.
The key is to layer each element of this one-pot dish with seasoning and flavor.
We’ll start with chicken. I’m using boneless, skinless chicken thighs because well… I like them, they’re flavorful and economical and that all lines up in my book.
We’ll season out meat generously with salt, fresh cracked black pepper, and smoky paprika.
In a large oven-proof skillet, add several tablespoons of olive oil and brown the seasoned chicken on both sides. Not until the chicken is cooked through, just until it’s nicely browned all around.
How do you like them? You might like a fine dice. I liked a thick slice for this dish. I like an onion bite.
Slice them however you’d like. The thick slices will just a bit longer to cook down and there’s not a thing wrong with that.
Where there are onions there are garlic. I coarsely chopped my garlic because a) I hate chopping garlic and b) I love bit bites of softened garlic. Win win.
Saute the onions and garlic in a large oven-proof skillet.
We’ll remove the browned chicken from the pan and place it on a plate. Add a few more tablespoons of olive oil and add the onions and garlic and saute slowly until the onions sweat and start to break down. We don’t need anything to brown we just need everything to soften.
To the softened onion and garlic add a few tablespoons of tomato paste, a few tablespoons of the baharat seasoning, and we’ll stir until the mixture is mixed through and fragrant.
Shake in the rice and stir to coat and toast. I love a rice-in-a-hot-pan-SIZZLE.
To the sizzling mixture we’ll add a good splash or three of white wine.
If you don’t have white wine on hand, a light beer is a good swap.
If you don’t want any booze in the mix, a splash of chicken broth will do a great job of deglazing the pan.
Stir until the wine, beer, or broth absorbs and nestle the cooked chicken back into the pan.
Tuck in a few bay leaves.
Add the chicken stock and see that that all of the rice is submerged. Place the lid on the pot and set it in the oven to cook for 25 minutes.
It feels like magic! The rice puffs to soft, the chicken will cook to fork-tender, and the entire kitchen will smell like dinner.
I served mine with a cucumber tomato salad to bring so fresh flavor and color.
Parsley to top the cooked chicken and rice.
One-Pot Baharat Chicken and Rice
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For Baharat Spice from whole spices:
- 2 tablespoons black peppercorns
- 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
- 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
- 1 tablespoon all-spice berries
- 1 teaspoon cardamom seeds (seeds not pods)
- 1 4-inch cinnamon stick
- 2 tablespoons sweet paprika
- 1 teaspoon smoky paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
For Baharat Spice from ground spices:
- 1 1/2 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
- 1 heaping tablespoon ground coriander
- 1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons ground all-spice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons sweet paprika
- 1 teaspoon smoky paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
For the One-Pot Chicken Dinner:
- 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
- Sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper
- Smoky paprika
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium purple onion, sliced thick (about 1 cup)
- 5 cloves garlic, crushed and coarsely chopped
- 2 – 3 tablespoons baharat spice
- 2 teaspoon ground cumin
- sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/2 cup dry white wine or light beer
- 1 1/2 cups long grain white rice (I used basmati because that’s what I had on hand)
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- First make the spice mix if you aren’t able to buy it in a store. To make the whole spice mix: Grind the whole spices using a spice mill or coffee grinder. You’ll likely need to do this in several batches.) Place freshly ground spices in a small bowl and stir in the paprika and nutmeg.
- To make the spice mix with pre-ground spices, mix all of the spices together in a small ball until thoroughly combined. Taadaa that’s it!
- To make the chicken dinner, place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Season both sides of the chicken liberally with salt, pepper and smoked paprika. Place a large shallow skillet (with a tight fitting lid) over medium-high heat with the olive oil. Once hot, add in half of the chicken in a single layer. Cook until browned on both sides, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. The chicken doesn’t have to be fully cooked, we’re just looking to brown it at this point. It will continue to cook in the oven. Transfer the browned chicken to a plate and brown the rest.
- Once the all the chicken has browned, add the onion and garlic to the skillet and cook until softened, about 3 to 5 minutes. Season with salt and fresh cracked black pepper. Stir in the tomato paste and cook until deep red in color, about 1 minute. Add the spices and stir until fragrant. Add the rice and bay leaves and cook for another minute or so to develop the rice’s flavor. Stir in the wine or beer and cook until almost evaporated completely, making sure to scrape up the browned bits on the bottom of the skillet. Stir in the chicken stock and bring up to a simmer. Nestle in the chicken and any juices that may have collected on the plate.
- Cover and transfer to the oven to bake for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to rest with the lid on for 10 minutes. Remove the lid, sprinkle with parsley and serve warm.
Found this recipe searching for baharat and made it for our dinner tonight, what a treat. Pure comfort food and loved the flavours. Will be trying other recipes with baharat but this one will definitely be repeated! Loved how simple it was to follow and how you introduced the recipe. Great site!
Joy the Baker
I’m so glad you found your way here, Chris! This comment made my day!
This was so delicious! I ended up purchasing a Baharat seasoning to save time which worked well, but I think next time I will make your recipe. We both thought the dish would be enhanced with a little heat so we dabbed on some sriracha, which was tasty. I think next time I might add a Chile pepper or some red pepper flakes at the beginning. All-in-all a great dish that I will definitely make again. Thanks, Joy!
Wonderful dish, 3 tablespoons of the Baharat mixture was a bit too intense though. Will definitely make again and dial back the spice mixture. FYI I used Spice House blend of Baharat.
Thank you for the feedback Keith! You’re right – every Baharat is different so I will amend the recipe!
I really like the Rumi Spice Baharat blend as well as the Spice House!
What can you substitute for the wine/beer if you don’t want to use alcohol?!
You can substitute more broth for the alcohol!
Hey, Joy, I’ve been following you for a while now and really enjoy all your recipes. My husband just made this one last week. I was sick, we had guest, everyone was hungry…I got to sleep while he made the food and when I woke up the entire house smelled amazing! It tasted delicious, too. Thank you!
I loved the flavor of the dish, easy to follow. Only thing is my rice had a bite to it… not what I wanted. Next time I’ll use basmati or just cook it longer with the long grain. Thank you for this recipe.
Oh I’m sorry about the rice! A splash more liquid and a bit more time in the oven will fix it right up!
I made this last night for my family and it was a hit. I love the Baharat spice blend. It was such a hearty meal and very easy to get on the table. Thanks, Joy!
Oh I’m so glad!
Beautiful dish! Thank you for sharing! I always thought that it’s a shame Baharat doesn’t get more exposure. I love it in Lahmajun, meat bourekas and chicken tagines. Great warm and savory flavor!
Also, thank you for your willingness to visit Israel and experience the country, its people and culture for yourself.
Its complexity, beauty and challenges can not be depicted in sound bites.
Looking forward to more inspiration from your travels!
Where is the skillet/pan that you used from? I am looking for a good skillet that’s also oven safe (and has a lid).
Hi! The pan is a Staub braise pan like these: https://www.zwilling.com/us/staub/cast-iron/braisers-saute-pans/