WGN Entertainment Reporter Dean Richards shares an easy and delicious recipe for Upside Down Chicken and Rice Casserole.
- 2 cups white Basmati rice
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless, chicken thighs (about 6) or bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 3), trimmed
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1/3 cup raw slivered almonds
- 8 ounces cauliflower florets, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 8-10 regular size carrots, peeled, cut in half
- 1/2 to 3/4 medium eggplant (about 8 to 12 ounces), sliced into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
- 1 quart (4 cups) chicken stock
- 8 to 10 large garlic cloves, minced
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- 4 teaspoons of ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon ground allspice
- 2 teaspoons of ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- Parchment paper
- In a large bowl, combine the rice and 2 tablespoons of coarse salt. Add water to cover by 1 inch, then set aside.
- Prepare a lidded pot that measures 9½ to 11 inches in diameter and 4 to 6 inches deep. (I used a large enameled, cast iron Dutch oven.)
- Cut 2 rounds of kitchen parchment the size of the pot. (I cut the rounds slightly oversized so that it had a little bit of a lip.)
- Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
- Set the pot over medium heat with 1 tablespoon of the oil (until it shimmers.)
- Add the chicken “skin side” down and cook until browned, about 7 minutes for boneless or 10 minutes for bone-in. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
- Remove the pot from heat. Place 1 parchment round on the bottom of the pan. Coat both sides of the paper and the pan with fat/oil.
- Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil to the parchment-lined pot.
- Put a layer of the carrots all over the bottom of the pan.
- Sprinkle evenly with the almonds.
- Drain the rice in a fine mesh strainer, then rinse under cool running water and drain again.
- Scatter 1 cup of the rice in a thin, even layer over the almonds.
- In a medium bowl, mix together the remaining rice with the cauliflower, garlic, melted butter, cumin, allspice, turmeric, nutmeg and 1 3/4 teaspoons of salt and pepper each. Reserve 1/2 cup of this mixture, then distribute the remainder in an even layer in the pot.
- Place the chicken and accumulated juices (if using boneless, skinless chicken) in the pot, slightly nestling the pieces into the rice-cauliflower layer; discard any accumulated juices (if using bone-in chicken).
- Layer the eggplant slices over the chicken in an even layer.
- Sprinkle with the reserved 1/2 cup rice-cauliflower mixture.
- Pour the stock into the pot (it will not completely cover the eggplant), then bring to a boil over medium-high.
- Set the second parchment round over the food, cover the pot with the lid. Cook for 5 minutes, reduce to low and cook, undisturbed, for 35 minutes.
- Remove the pot from the heat, uncover and let stand for 15 minutes.
- Remove the parchment (and accumulated liquid on the top), then invert the pot, quickly and carefully onto a serving platter holding the platter against the pot, inverting the two together, leaving the pot overturned on the platter for about 10 minutes.
- Occasionally tap the pot so the food inside falls to the bottom. Slowly lift off the pot and, if needed, remove and discard the parchment.
- Slightly shake the platter to create cracks in the top of the finished dish.
See past recipes from Dean on his cooking page.
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