Winter Spiced Chicken Casserole with Orange, Cinnamon and Spinach
This is one of my favourite dishes – call it a casserole or a stew, it is simply a great dish for entertaining or when you want to cook something packed with flavour and spices. Other ingredients can also be added, such as walnuts and pomegranate seeds for extra texture but the colours and flavours in this dish are just so good. Serve with rice or sweet potatoes and a special dish to cook when entertaining.
800g/2 lb steak/lamb strips
(finely shredded and tossed in 25g/1oz plain flour)
2dsp olive oil
2 onions (white or red & cut into fine slices)
2 carrots (coarsely grated)
3 oranges (juice and rind, coarsely grated)
200g/8oz spinach leaves
2 cardamom pods (seeds only)
100g/4oz almonds (strips)
50g/2oz pistachio nuts (chopped coarsely)
200g/8oz baby tomatoes
1 cinnamon stick
4 dsp balsamic vinegar
1 dsp honey
250ml/½ chicken stock cube
pinch paprika pepper
salt & pepper
Coriander or flat Italian parsley
1¼ hrs on the hob or in the oven
Cut the chicken into fine strips and add a hint of paprika pepper.
In a large casserole dish, heat the oil and butter and then add the chicken strips.
Cook well until golden, well sealed and packed with flavour.
Draw the chicken to the side, then add the sliced onion to the same pan – add a little oil if needed and cook until the onions are well cooked but still translucent.
In a separate pan, gently cook, over a low heat, the whole baby tomatoes with balsamic vinegar until softened and almost caramelised.
Grate or cut carrots into fine strips.
Grate the coarse zest from the oranges, squeeze the juice from the oranges, remove the seeds from the cardamom pods and chop the nuts.
To the chicken and onion mixture add the cinnamon stick, cardamom, half orange peel, juice, grated carrot, roasted baby tomatoes, honey and seasoning. Continue cooking over a medium heat for 15-20 mins. to intensify the flavours without the addition of the stock.
Next add the stock and either cook on the hob or the oven @ 200°/400°F for 45 mins.
Cooking in the oven can be economical if making a dessert or other dishes at the same time. Finally add the spinach leaves, half orange peel, seasoning, half pistachio nuts and half almonds. Heat through for 4-5 mins.
Remove and serve garnished with coriander and the remainder of the nuts.