See past recipes from Dean on his cooking page.
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 ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground allspice
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
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 shimmering.)
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 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 each salt and pepper. 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 fully cover the eggplant), then bring to a boil over medium-high.
Set the second parchment round over the food, the 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.