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Recipe: Slow-cooked chicken with a crisp corn crust

19 September 2018 by
Recipe: Slow-cooked chicken with a crisp corn crust

You can make the chicken well in advance if you want to get ahead: it keeps in the fridge for up to three days or can be frozen for one month. You want it to go into the oven defrosted, though, so it will need thawing out of the freezer. The batter needs to be made fresh and spooned on top of the chicken just before the dish gets baked, but it then can just go back in the oven. It can also be baked a few hours in advance - just warm through for 10 minutes, covered in foil, before serving.

I love the combination of the chicken and the corn, but the chicken also works well as it is, served on top of rice, in a wrap or with a buttery jacket potato.

Serves 6

3tbsp olive oil

3 red onions, thinly sliced (500g)

2 garlic cloves, crushed

3tbs rose harissa

2tsp sweet smoked paprika

850g chicken thighs, skinless and boneless (about 9-10 thighs)

200ml passata

5 large tomatoes, quartered (400g)

200g jarred roasted red peppers, drained and cut into 2cm thick rounds

15g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)

20g coriander, roughly chopped

Salt and black pepper

Sweetcorn batter

70g unsalted butter, melted

500g corn kernels, fresh or frozen and defrosted (shaved corn kernels from 4 large corn cobs, if starting from fresh)

3tbs whole milk 3 eggs, yolks and whites separated

Heat the oil in a large sauté pan, for which you have a lid, on a medium high heat. Add the onions and fry for eight to nine minutes, stirring a few times, until caramelised and soft.

Reduce the heat to medium and add the garlic, harissa, paprika, chicken, one teaspoon of salt and a good grind of black pepper. Cook for five minutes, stirring frequently, then add the passata and tomatoes. Pour over 350ml of water, bring to the boil, then simmer on a medium heat, covered, for 30 minutes, stirring every once in a while.

Add the peppers and chocolate and continue to simmer for another 35-40 minutes, with the pan now uncovered, stirring frequently, until the sauce is getting thick and the chicken is falling apart. Remove from the heat and stir in the coriander.

If you are serving the chicken as it is (as a stew without the batter), it's ready to serve (or freeze, once it's come to room temperature) at this stage. If you are making the corn topping, spoon the chicken into a ceramic baking dish - one with high sides that measures about 20 x 30cm - and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 180°C fan.

Pour the butter into a blender with the corn, milk, egg yolks and ¾ teaspoon 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 tin foil for the final 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside for 10 minutes before serving.

Taken from Ottolenghi's Simple. Read our book review here

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