In my house we have been talking about cookbooks a lot. How many cookbooks do we have? Am I addicted to cookbooks (um, yes, obviously!) What are my favorite cookbooks? How can we best organize the many, many cookbooks? How can I catalog the cookbooks? The conversations go on and on. I’ve been trying to get a small group of friends together to start a book club – but one that focuses on cookbooks or books related to food and cooking. I just love this idea – I hope it will happen one day soon.
The other day I decided to make a recipe that I have not made before. I picked up the beautiful cookbook Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. I received this cookbook for my birthday two years ago, and have made a few recipes out of it. I loved the collection of recipes so much that I went out to get other books by Ottolenghi (Plenty and Ottolenghi: The Cookbook).
On this night I decided to make a new recipe, Chicken with caramelized onion & cardamom rice. It was a Monday night, and I decided what better way to start the week than making a flavorful and fresh dinner. It sounded like a great plan to me. I love cooking early in the work week when I still have the energy – and we tend to order take away or go out to eat on Thursday and Friday when we have decidedly less energy to spend in the kitchen.
I had made a grocery list the night before. I have decided that one reason I tend to make my old, delicious favorite recipes over and over again is because I know what ingredients I need to pick up – I have them committed to memory! When you’re making a new recipe, it’s always a little bit of a gamble. Will it turn out well? Will everyone like it? How hard will it be to make the first time? Will I forget any ingredients when I’m shopping?! It takes more planning to make a new recipe.
On this day I bought bone in, skin on chicken thighs (talk about delicious!!!), cardamom pods, and I definitely could not find barberries, so I had to skip that key ingredient (thankfully this is a really strong recipe, so it survived without one of the ingredients).
I have to say, we do not usually make chicken thighs at home. We don’t usually have skin on chicken either. I love bone in though because it really helps bring out the rich flavor! I loved cooking these pieces of chicken.
The chicken thighs were seasoned with some of my favorite spices: the basics (salt and pepper) cardamom, cinnamon (I didn’t have sticks, so I dusted the thighs in actual cinnamon) and I think I added a little bit of cumin because I can’t live without it. I cooked each piece of chicken for five minutes per side. Then I took the chicken out, added the rice, caramelized onions, more salt and pepper & cardamom pods, stirred everything around and then put the chicken back into the pan. Then I added the boiling water and covered the pan. It cooked on low for thirty minutes.
This is the beautiful results of the recipe – after I topped everything with cilantro and parsley:
This dinner was so good. I definitely felt rewarded for trying a new recipe. Which is how I came up with my latest cookbook project. Starting next week, I will be cooking two new recipes a week out of my numerous cookbooks (I probably have hundreds! I read them like novels.) I will write and report back to you and let you know how the recipes come out! I think it will be a great way for me to get into the kitchen and try new things. It will also give me something to write about. I am really looking forward to this project – so stay tuned.
If you want to make this wonderful recipe (and trust me, you really want to make this recipe!) you can go to the New York Times by clicking here. There is a video an the recipe – enjoy it!
Stay tuned for the first official installment of Chez Heather – The Cookbook Project. I can’t wait to get started!