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Slow-cooked chicken with a crisp corn crust


Slow-cooked chicken

  • 3 tablesoons olive oil
  • 2 medium-large red onions, thinly sliced (5 cups/500 grams)
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 tablespoons rose harissa
  • 2 teaspoons sweet smoke paprika
  • 850 grams boneless, skinless chicken thighs (9 or 10 thighs)
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons/200 millilitres passata (tomato puree)
  • 5 large tomatoes, quartered (400 grams)
  • 1-1/2 cups/350 milliliters water
  • 1 cup/200 grams jarred roasted red peppers, drained and cut into 2 centimeter-thick rounds
  • 15 grams dark chocolate (70% cacao)
  • 1 cup/20 grams cilantro roughly chopped

Corn batter

  • 5 tablespoons/70 grams unsalted butter, melted
  • Scant 4 cups/500 grams corn kernels, fresh or frozen and defrosted (from 4 large ears corn)
  • 3 tablespoons whole milk
  • 3 eggs, yolks and whites separated
  • Salt


Slow-cooked chicken

  1. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan with a lid over medium-high heat.  Add the onions and fry for eight to nine minutes, stirring a few ties, until caramelized and soft.  Decrease the heat to medium and add the garlic, harissa, paprika, chicken, one teaspoon salt, and a good grind of black pepper.  Cook for five minutes longer, stirring frequently, then add the tomato puree and tomatoes.  Add the water, bring to a boil, then simmer over medium heat, covered for 30 minutes, stirring every once in a while.
  2. Add the peppers and chocolate and continue to simmer for 35-40 minutes, with the pan now uncovered, stirring frequently, until the sauce thickens and the chicken is falling apart.  Remove from the heat and stir in the cilantro. If you are serving the chicken as it is (as a stew without the batter), it’s ready to serve (or freeze, once it has come t room temperature) at this stage. If you are making the corn crust, spoon the chicken into a ceramic baking dish – one with high sides that measures about 20 x 30 centimeters -  and set aside.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Corn batter

  1. To make the batter, pour the butter into a blender with the corn, milk, egg yolks, and three-quarters of a 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.
  2. Fold these gently into the runny corn mixture until jus combines, then pour the mix evenly over the chicken.
  3. 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 fil for the final ten minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside for ten minutes before serving.

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