006: Chef Michael Solomonov (Just the Plate)

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Chef Michael Solomonov is the executive chef and co-owner of Zahav, Philadelphia’s pioneering modern Israeli restaurant and one half of CookNSolo Restaurant Partners. In this episode, he walks you through a one pot Iraqi Jewish chicken and rice dish called Tabit. This is a dish he makes at home for his two children. If you missed Mike’s full episode, check out Episode 005.

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Tabit

This one-pot chicken and rice dish is basically an Iraqi Sabbath stew. Think of it as what Arroz con Pollo is to Spain and Latin America.

4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs

Kosher salt

1-2 teaspoons paprika, divided

1 teaspoon ground turmeric, divided

2 teaspoons ground coriander, divided

Ground nutmeg or whole nutmeg, grated

3 Tablespoons olive oil

1 small to medium size onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced or fine chopped

1 small or 1/2 medium to large size eggplant, diced

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

2 cups jasmine rice, rinsed

4 cups chicken stock or water

Black pepper

1 fresh bay leaf, optional

A few Tablespoons fresh dill, chopped, optional

About 1/4 – 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped, optional

Za’atar, to finish, optional

Preheat oven to 300 degrees

Season both sides of the chicken thighs with a dusting of each; salt, paprika, turmeric, coriander and nutmeg. If time, set aside to let spices set in for 30 minutes to an hour. If you don’t have time, it is ok to start cooking.

To a large size saucepot (such as a Dutch) set over medium low heat, add the olive oil. Add the thighs, skin side down, and let cook to render the fat and get golden brown, about 10 minutes. (Kappy turned over to brown for a few more minutes, but chef did not say to brown on the other side) Remove to a plate until time to add back to the pot.

Add the onion, garlic, eggplant and carrot to the pot, along with the remainder of spices and let cook over medium low heat to sweat out and start to caramelize, stirring every now and then, about 10 minutes. Add the rinsed rice to the pot and stir to combine and let toast for a few minutes. Add the stock, season with salt and black pepper (bay leaf, if using) and stir gently to combine. Turn heat up to high and let come to a bubble. Once simmering, place a layer of foil over the top and a lid, being careful of the hot pot. If you don’t have a lid, use a double layer of foil. Place in oven and let cook about 25 minutes, or until all of the liquid is absorbed and the chicken is cooked through. If there is still liquid in the pot, place back in the oven in increments of 5 minutes until it is all absorbed.

Remove from oven and let sit, covered, for at least 10 minutes. Remove lid and fluff with a fork. Add in dill, parsley and some za’atar, if using.

This dish makes great leftovers!

Serves 2-4 (with plenty of rice to spare)

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