Now here’s an oft neglected spice—coriander seeds, what you get when you let your cilantro plants go to seed. Although from the same plant as cilantro, the seeds have a distinctively different taste from the leaves. There’s just a hint of familiarity between them. This recipe, in which coriander is one of the star attractions, comes by way of my friend Aida Mollenkamp, author of the the highly instructive cookbook Keys to the Kitchen: The Essential Reference for Becoming a More Accomplished, Adventurous Cook. The recipe caught my eye because of its other ingredients—chicken, cilantro, and the princess of leafy greens, Swiss chard. The coriander? That was the wild card. But oh my oh my, I love it in this dish. According to Aida the stew has classical Middle Eastern flavors. This stew is seriously one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. What a delight to discover how well coriander can play with chicken and greens.
By the way, I highly recommend that you check out Aida’s book, especially if you are relatively new to cooking, or would just like to improve your cooking skills. The book is packed with useful diagrams, step-by-step techniques, and helpful cooking advice.
Aida’s Coriander Chicken, Cilantro, and Chard Stew Recipe
- 10 cardamom pods (or 1 1/2 teaspoons cardamom seeds)
- 10 black peppercorns
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 red onion
- 1/2 lemon
- 1 whole 4 lb (2 kg)chicken, cut into parts
- 9 cups water
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 6-8 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 Tbsp ground coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 4 cups roughly chopped cilantro, loosely packed (about 120 g)
- 4-5 cups broth (you will make this in the recipe)
- 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 2 pounds chard, ribs removed, leaves cut crosswise into 1 inch strips
1 If you are using cardamom pods, break them open in a mortar and pestle or with the handle of a chef's knife. Crack the black peppercorns as well. Put the crushed cardamom and black peppercorns, cinnamon stick, bay leaf, onion, lemon, and chicken into a large pot. Add 9 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer. Skim any any frothy scum that collects on the surface of the broth.
2 After about 20 minutes, remove the chicken breast pieces and set aside. Once the broth has cooked for 45 minutes to an hour (the timing doesn't need to be precise), turn off the heat and remove the chicken legs and thighs from the pot.
3 Strain the broth through a fine-meshed strainer and reserve 4-5 cups. Add the salt to this both and taste. Add more salt to taste. Save the remaining broth for another recipe (it will freeze well).
4 Remove and discard the chicken skin from the chicken parts . Strip off all the usable meat from the chicken and shred it by hand. Set it aside. Discard the bones.
1 Heat 2 Tbsp of the butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the garlic cloves, ground coriander, salt, white pepper and stir to make a paste. Cook for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant, stirring often. Add half the cilantro and cook until it wilts.
2 Add the broth (four cups makes a rather dry stew, 5 cups is a little looser) heat it to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes.
3 While the broth simmers, mix the vinegar, lemon juice and red onion together in a bowl. Set aside.
4 Stir in the chard leaves a little at a time, adding more only when the previous batch has wilted. Add the shredded chicken and cook everything for 8-10 minutes.
5 While the stew is in its final simmer, heat the last Tbsp of butter in a small pan over medium-high heat. Wilt the remaining cilantro in the butter and cook for a minute or two.To serve, add the cilantro and the onion mixture to the stew, mix well and add salt to taste.
Serve with bread, rice or potatoes.