Curried Chicken and Rice Casserole

Total Time:
2 hr
25 min
1 hr 35 min

8 servings

  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut water
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 bunches scallions, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 habanero chile pepper, seeded
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 3 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 carrots, chopped
  • 2 15 -ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 10 -ounce box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • Golden raisins, for topping
  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Combine the rice, coconut water, 1/2 cup water and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cover; cook until the rice is tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat; let stand, covered, 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and toss with the butter and coconut; set aside.

  • Meanwhile, combine the scallions, cilantro, thyme, garlic, habanero and 1/2 cup water in a food processor or blender; puree to make a smooth paste. Transfer 1 tablespoon to a small bowl; stir in the curry powder, turmeric, cumin, 1 teaspoon pepper and 1/4 cup water. Transfer the remaining paste to a large bowl and add the chicken and 1 teaspoon salt; toss to coat.

  • Heat the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the curry-scallion paste; cook, stirring, until the paste darkens and starts to separate, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken to the pot. Reduce the heat to medium; cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until almost cooked through, 15 minutes.

  • Increase the heat to medium high. Uncover and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 15 more minutes. Stir in 1 1/2 cups water, the carrots, chickpeas and spinach. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium. Simmer until the chicken is tender, 15 more minutes.

  • Transfer the chicken mixture to a 9-by-13-inch baking dish and top with the rice mixture. Bake until golden brown and bubbling, about 25 minutes. Top with golden raisins.

  • Photograph by Justin Walker

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