I love a dish involving warm dressing and wilted greens. I am also in love with farro- and pesto. This full-flavored vegetarian dish was made for me! Loved it. 🙂
This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Yasmin Fahr. I used homemade pesto, Campari tomatoes, and several of the modifications and options that were suggested in the original recipe for ingredient substitutions.
It was incredible as a summer dish but could easily be served in any season with all of the possible variations. It can be served warm, cold, or at room temperature. The dish could also be topped with a protein such as grilled chicken, scallops, or shrimp, if desired. We ate it for dinner with roasted CSA vegetables and a green salad. It would also be lovely for a special lunch or brunch. Fabulous.
Yield: Serves 4
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup farro, rinsed (I used Trader Joe’s “10 minute” Farro)
2 pints (4 cups) cherry or grape tomatoes or 2 pounds of Campari tomatoes (12-14 tomatoes)
1 red onion, peeled, quartered and cut into 1-inch wedges keeping the root intact (I cut a large red onion into 8ths)(can substitute shallots)
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for the farro
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
1/4 cup (4 T) store-bought or homemade pesto, plus more to taste (recipe below)
2 packed cups baby spinach, arugula, Swiss chard (stemmed & chopped), or baby kale
1 (4 oz) ball fresh mozzarella or burrata, torn into chunks, or 1/2 cup ricotta salata or feta, crumbled, optional (I used 4 oz crumbled feta)
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley or basil leaves and tender stems, chiffonade or roughly chopped, for garnish
Heat the oven to 400 degrees. (I set my oven to convection roast.)
Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Add the farro and adjust the heat to maintain a medium boil. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom, until tender and not too chewy, about 10 to 30 minutes. (I used Trader Joe’s “10-minute” Farro which cooked in 10 minutes)
Meanwhile, on a parchment paper-lined, rimmed sheet pan, combine the tomatoes and onion wedges with the oil, making sure everything is well coated and glistening, then season with salt, pepper and the red-pepper flakes. Roast until the tomatoes blister and slightly deflate, 20 to 30 minutes.
When the farro is done, drain, then pour into a serving bowl or back into the pot. Toss with some olive oil, then mix in the pesto.
Add the lemon zest and juice, then stir in the spinach (or other greens). Set aside to cool slightly.
Scrape the onions, tomatoes and their juices into the farro; season with salt and pepper as needed.
Add the cheese, if using, then garnish with herbs and serve.
For the Pesto: (Makes about 1 cup)
2 loosely packed cups fresh basil leaves, rinsed and dried
1 large clove garlic
2 T toasted pine nuts or walnuts
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, or more to taste
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano
Combine the basil with a pinch of salt, the garlic, the nuts, and about half of the oil in a food processor or blender.
Process, stopping to scrape down the sides of the container if necessary and adding the rest of the oil gradually.
Add more oil if you prefer a thinner mixture. (Sometimes I add a little bit of stock instead to achieve the same result.)
Stir in the cheese.
The pesto recipe is from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman. The amounts can be modified to reduce the volume; only 1/4 cup of pesto is used in the farro dish.
Even though I have a tried and true recipe for this family favorite, I couldn’t resist trying another version- especially a Milk Street version. 🙂 It did not disappoint! It was more flavor-packed and spicy than the recipe I’ve used in the past. This shortcut version uses the broiler to cook the chicken and does not require advance preparation or marinating time. Great.
This recipe was adapted from Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street Magazine, contributed by Rose Hattabaugh. I used the suggested amount of hot paprika but would only use half next time. (It was spicier than I had anticipated!) The delicious yogurt-tahini sauce offset the spiciness nicely. Serving the chicken with rice and warm naan also balanced the meal.
For the Spice Mix:
1 T ground cumin
1 T ground coriander
2 tsp hot paprika (or 1 tsp hot paprika with 1 tsp sweet paprika)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
For the Chicken:
5 T extra-virgin olive oil
1 T tahini
2 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (I used 5 large)
1 medium-large red onion
For the Yogurt-Tahini Sauce:
1 tsp Spice Mix (reserved from above)
8 oz (1 cup) plain whole-milk yogurt (I used Greek whole milk yogurt)
1 T olive oil
2 T tahini
grated lemon zest from 1 lemon (about 1 tsp)
1 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 T chopped fresh mint
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
chopped mint, for garnish
warm flatbread such as naan or pita, optional
rice or rice pilaf (I served the chicken over brown Basmati rice)
chopped cucumbers (seeded, if desired)
lemon wedges, optional
To Make the Spice Mix:
In a large bowl, stir together the cumin, coriander, paprika, cinnamon, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 2 teaspoons black pepper.
Measure 1 teaspoon of the mix into a medium bowl; set aside. This will be used in the Tahini-Yogurt Sauce.
To Prepare the Chicken:
Trim the chicken thighs and pat dry with paper towels.
Cut each thigh crosswise into thirds (or fourths if large).
Cut the red onion in half. Slice 1/2-inch thick. (I cut the onion into 12 slices.)
Into the remaining spice mix, whisk the olive oil, 1 T tahini, and 2 T lemon juice.
Add the chicken and onion pieces to the spiced olive oil mixture. Mix until coated evenly. Set aside.
Preheat the broiler with a rack about 6 inches from the heating element. (I set my oven to Broil+Max @500 degrees.)
Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Lightly coat with cooking oil spray. While the broiler preheats, make the yogurt sauce.
To Make the Yogurt-Tahini Sauce:
To the reserved teaspoon of spice mix, add the yogurt, 1 T olive oil, 2 T tahini, lemon zest, 1 T lemon juice, and 2 T fresh mint.
Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir and set aside.
To Cook the Chicken & To Serve:
Transfer the chicken-onion mixture, along with the marinade, to the prepared baking sheet. Distribute in an even layer.
Broil until the chicken is lightly charred on both sides, 18 to 20 minutes, flipping the pieces once about halfway through. (I also rotated the pan halfway through.)
While the chicken is cooking, cook the rice. (I served the chicken over brown Basmati rice.) Cut the cucumbers and tomatoes.
Remove the chicken from the oven.
Place the rice in an even layer in a shallow serving dish. Top with chicken and onions; drizzle with pan drippings. Sprinkle with chopped mint.
Serve with lemon wedges, warm flatbread, chopped cucumbers and tomatoes, and yogurt-tahini sauce.
Making homemade mayonnaise has been a challenging endeavor for me. It is always described as “quick and easy” but that has not been the case in my kitchen! This time- with a little bit of a struggle- I finally had a successful result. 🙂
The garlic aioli base of this potato salad was very creamy and flavorful. The diced hard boiled eggs added even more richness to the finished dish. This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. I modified the method and proportions. The original recipe suggests making the salad at least an hour prior to serving to allow the flavors to mellow.
This dish could also be made with store-bought mayonnaise as a shortcut! Skip steps 3 and 4 and add garlic and lemon juice to the mayo.
Yield: Serves 4 as a side dish
2 large eggs
2 egg yolks, at room temperature
2 garlic cloves, finely grated or pushed through a garlic press
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice, at room temperature, more as needed (I used Meyer lemon juice)
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 T sour cream
4 T (1/4 cup) finely chopped celery
2 T finely chopped red onion
1 pound small waxy white or yellow potatoes, roughly about the same size (I used tiny yellow potatoes)
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
finely chopped chives, cilantro, or parsley, for garnish
Place the 2 whole eggs in a small pot with water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat; immediately remove from heat and cover for 8 minutes. Transfer eggs to a bowl of ice water to cool. Peel and dice small.
Meanwhile, combine grated garlic, salt and lemon juice in a blender, and pulse a few times to combine. (I used a Vitamix.)
Pulse in the egg yolks. (I incorporated the egg yolks briefly at the highest speed.)
With motor running, set to medium-low speed (3 on a Vitamix), very slowly drizzle (drip!) in olive oil until completely incorporated and mayonnaise is thick. (I covered the opening with a paper towel to prevent any mess.)(I initially began this process with 1 egg yolk and the mixture separated. I was able to bring it back to a creamy state by slowing adding the broken mixture to an additional egg yolk prior to slowly adding the rest of the olive oil in the blender.)
Scrape the mayonnaise into a bowl and fold in sour cream.
Fold in the chopped celery and red onion.
Place whole unpeeled potatoes in a large pot with enough water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and then generously salt the water. Cook until potatoes are just tender, 15 to 25 minutes depending upon size. (I cooked the potatoes for 20 minutes.)
Drain and cut the potatoes into 1 1/2-inch chunks as soon as you can handle them.
Transfer hot potatoes to a large bowl and toss with diced boiled eggs and 2/3 of the mayonnaise.
Let cool to room temperature, or refrigerate until ready to use.
Just before serving, toss with some of the remaining dressing to taste (if desired). (I reserved the remaining mayonnaise for another use.)
Season with black pepper and add more salt, if necessary, to taste. Sprinkle with chopped herbs. Serve.
Recently, my friend gave me beautiful cast iron baking dishes. I knew that I wanted to make enchiladas in them right away! Our Cinco de Mayo feast was the perfect occasion. Our meal also included chips and guacamole, of course. 😉
The recipe for these hearty, vegetarian enchiladas was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Ali Slagle. I modified the proportions and method. We ate them garnished with sour cream, red onion, avocado, and cilantro with refried beans and rice on the side. We topped off our festive meal with a Tres Leches Cake. Perfect.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium yellow onions, finely chopped (I used a food processor)
1 poblano chile, stemmed, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
8 garlic cloves, peeled and minced (I used a food processor)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 (15-ounce) can fire-roasted tomatoes (I used Trader Joe’s)
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 chipotle chile in adobo, chopped
1/4 cup sour cream, plus more for serving, optional
2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 to 2 cups coarsely grated mild Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
10 to 12 (6-inch) soft corn or flour tortillas (I used Trader Joe’s corn & wheat tortillas)
fresh cilantro leaves and stems, for serving
sliced avocado, for serving, optional
diced white or red onion, for serving, optional
rice and refried beans, for serving, optional
Heat the oven to 425 degrees. (I used the convection setting.)
In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high. Add the onions and chopped poblano chile; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and charred in spots, 4 to 5 minutes.
Stir in the cumin and minced garlic; cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.
Transfer half the vegetable mixture to a blender; add the tomatoes, chili powder and chipotle chile. (I used a Vitamix.) Blend until very smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (If your blender isn’t particularly strong and the sauce looks more like a chunky purée, add 1/4 cup sour cream and blend again until smooth.)(I omitted the sour cream in the sauce.)
Add the black beans and 1/2 cup cheese to the remaining vegetables in the skillet and stir to combine. Some canned beans are already salted, so taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
Place the tortillas in a tortilla warmer (or on a plate) covered with a damp paper towel. Cover and microwave for 1 minute, or until warm and pliable.
If using individual dishes, spread a few spoonfuls of sauce over the bottom of each dish. (I used 5 dishes.) Alternatively, pour enough enchilada sauce to lightly coat the base of a medium casserole dish or a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Spread it to cover the bottom of the dish(es).
Line up the filling, tortillas and baking dish in a row. Place a heaping 1/4 cup of the bean mixture in the center of each tortilla. Roll up the tortilla and place in the casserole dish(es), seam-side down. Repeat with the remaining tortillas. (I placed 2 enchiladas per individual dish.)
Spoon or pour the remaining sauce over the enchiladas.
Sprinkle with the remaining 1 to 1 1/2 cups of cheese, to taste. (I used 1/2 cup cheese per dish.)
Place the baking dish(es) on a rimmed baking sheet and tent with foil. Bake for 10 minutes.
Remove foil and continue to bake until the cheese has melted and has browned in spots, about 10 additional minutes.
Top with sour cream, avocado slices, diced onion, and cilantro. Serve immediately.
Note: The sauce and the black bean mixture (without the cheese) can be made up to 5 days in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. The spice level in the sauce can be easily modified by adjusting the amount of chili powder.
One of my friends has been trying to convince me to make nachos for dinner for quite some time. My kids (who were well aware of this suggestion) were so deprived, they have ordered nachos on several occasions as an entrée when we’ve indulged at a Mexican restaurant. 😉
When I saw this recipe for “party nachos,” I thought that I could (and should) serve them for dinner! Crazy? Nope. My kids were thrilled. After all, nachos are a sheet-pan dinner. This version uses rotisserie chicken meat as a shortcut too.
This recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Rick Martinez. I scaled down the proportions. However, I did prepare the full recipe for the rotisserie chicken and sauce, keeping half to use for tacos, etc., on another occasion.
The bottom layer was reminiscent of a enchilada pie, or taco or enchilada skillet meal- other weeknight favorites over here. The rotisserie chicken meat is coated with a fabulous, full-flavored sauce. This sauce brings these nachos to the next level. I loved all of the toppings too. Very cheesy.
When not being served for dinner, these nachos would also be a great appetizer or snack, of course.
Yield: Serves about 6
2 T extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 large red onion, chopped, divided
1 T achiote paste or tomato paste
8 ancho chiles, stemmed, seeded (I substituted 2 ancho chilies plus 4 guajillo chiles)
1 chipotle chile in adobo, chopped (or 1 T adobo sauce to keep things mild)
3 cups chicken stock
1 tsp ground cumin
1 rotisserie chicken, meat pulled from bones and shredded
1 10-oz bag frozen corn, thawed, drained
1/2 poblano chile, stemmed, seeded, chopped
4 oz crumbled feta cheese (about 1/2 cup) or finely grated Cotija cheese (about 1 cup)
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
8 to 10-oz tortilla chips
1 lb sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
thinly sliced radishes, cilantro leaves, avocado cubes, and pickled jalapeños, for serving, as desired
sour cream, for serving, as desired
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high until shimmering.
Cook garlic and half of onion, stirring occasionally, until tender and beginning to brown, 6–8 minutes.
Stir in achiote paste/tomato paste and cook, stirring occasionally, until brick red, about 1 minute.
Add dried chiles, chipotle chile, stock, cumin, and 2 teaspoons of salt and bring to a boil. Cover, remove from heat, and let sit until chiles are very soft, about 30 minutes.
Place a rack in the center of oven; preheat to 350°, preferably on convection.
Transfer chile mixture to a blender and purée until smooth.
Return to saucepan, stir in chicken, and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat; season with salt. Remove from heat; set chicken aside until ready to assemble. (Reserve half of this saucy chicken for another use; only half is needed for the nachos.)
Meanwhile, toss corn, chopped poblano chile, half of the feta/Cotija cheese, and remaining onion in a medium bowl until combined; season with salt.
Coat a large rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray.
Arrange half of the chips in an even layer on the bottom of the baking sheet.
Top with half of the reserved chicken mixture, half of the corn mixture, and half of the cheddar.
Repeat layers with remaining chips, chicken mixture, corn mixture, and cheddar.
Bake nachos, rotating pan halfway through, until cheese is melted and edges of chips are beginning to brown, 8–10 minutes.
Serve topped with radishes, cilantro, avocado, pickled jalapeños, remaining feta/Cotija cheese, sour cream, and other desired toppings alongside.
Do Ahead: Nachos can be assembled 1 hour before baking. Cover with plastic and store at room temperature.
I made this full-flavored Moroccan dish when we were dreaming of a family trip to Morocco. (Currently still a dream trip!) It was amazing to be able to create a tagine-like dish using a slow cooker. My husband actually often asks me if I “need” a tagine. 🙂
This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Sarah DiGregorio. I increased the amount of garlic and served the chicken over Israeli couscous with sautéed kale on the side. The chicken was falling-off-of-the-bone tender. Wonderful!
Yield: Serves 6 to 8
Time: 4 1/2 to 6 1/2 hours
1medium (2 to 2 1/2 pound) butternut squash, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded and cut into 3-inch-by-1-inch wedges
8pitted dates, such as Medjool, halved
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1(3-inch) cinnamon stick
2teaspoons sweet paprika
1 ½teaspoons turmeric
1teaspoon ground cumin
½teaspoon hot smoked paprika
½teaspoon ground ginger
¼teaspoon ground cloves
¼teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 T canola oil
3 ½ to 4pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, trimmed (I used 8 thighs)
1large red onion, finely chopped
¼cup minced ginger (from about a 4-inch piece peeled ginger)
6 to 8large garlic cloves, minced
¼cup lemon juice (from about 1 large lemon), plus more to taste
leaves of 1 small bunch flat-leaf parsley, chopped
4scallions, thinly sliced
cooked couscous or pita for serving, optional (I used Israeli couscous)
plain yogurt, for topping, optional (I used 2% Greek yogurt)
toasted slivered almonds, for topping, optional
Finely chop the onion in a food processor; set aside. Mince the ginger and garlic in a food processor; set aside.
Put the squash wedges and pitted dates into a 6- to 8-quart slow cooker. Season generously with salt and pepper.
In a small bowl, combine the cinnamon stick, sweet paprika, turmeric, cumin, hot smoked paprika, ground ginger, cloves and cayenne and set aside.
Warm the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
Pat the chicken dry and season it generously with salt.
Working in two batches, put the chicken in the skillet skin side down and cook without moving it until the skin is deeply golden, crisp, and releases fairly easily from the bottom of the pan, about 5 to 8 minutes per batch. (You need to brown only the skin side.) Transfer the chicken to the slow cooker, nestling the thighs skin side up and in one crowded layer on top of the squash.
Decrease the stovetop heat to medium. If there is a lot of rendered fat in the pan, pour off all but a thin layer to cover the entire bottom of the skillet. Add the onion, season with salt, and cook, stirring to scrape up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan, until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes.
Add the ginger and garlic, and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add the reserved spices and stir well for about 30 seconds, until the mixture is a uniform brick red.
Add the lemon juice, stir well to incorporate the browned bits, then scrape the mixture over the top of the chicken, making sure to include any spice-stained oil that remains.
Cook on low until the squash and chicken are very tender and the flavors are mellow, at least 4 hours and up to 6 hours. If it’s more convenient, you can let the slow cooker switch to warm after 6 hours. The dish will hold on warm for another 2 hours before the chicken starts to dry out.
Remove and discard the cinnamon stick. Add additional lemon juice and salt, to taste, and fold in the chopped parsley and scallions.
Serve with couscous or pita, topped with yogurt and toasted almonds, as desired.
I am a list person. I have lists all over my house… things to do, things to cook, etc. I love a good list. (I especially love crossing items off of these lists!) This simple version of this typically complex dish was part of Bon Appétit’s list of the Most Popular Chicken Dishes of 2019. Bon Appétit loves lists too. 🙂
This dish is all about the rice, and I had some special Basmati rice given to me by a friend just waiting for an occasion to shine. Perfect. I loved the layers of flavor and different textures in the finished dish. It is loaded with spices, nuts, dried fruit, and topped with caramelized onions.
The raita and the chicken (in marinade) are prepared a day in advance. This recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Sohla El-Waylly. I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs instead of bone-in and modified the proportions. The creamy raita is essential to the finished dish. We also ate it with roasted cauliflower on the side. It was buttery, rich and delicious.
Yield: Serves 6 to 8
For the Onion Raita and Chicken Marinade:
½ tsp granulated sugar
1½ cups whole-milk yogurt, divided (I used whole-milk Greek yogurt)
3 tsp kosher salt, divided
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper, divided
1 red onion
1 4″ piece fresh ginger, peeled, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, smashed, peeled
¾ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground cardamon
10 boneless, skinless, chicken things or 4-6 bone-in chicken thighs (about 1 1/2 lbs)
2 dried bay leaves
For the Rice and Assembly:
¾ cup kosher salt
2 cups Basmati rice, preferably aged, such as Daawat (I used Aahu Barah)
1 red onion, thinly sliced
¾ cup melted ghee
½ cup mixed coarsely chopped nuts, such as almonds, pistachios, pine nuts, and/or walnuts
1 T granulated sugar
¾ cup mixed dried fruit, such as prunes, apricots, pineapple, and/or cranberries (I used chopped dried mango and dried cranberries)
To Make the Onion Raita:
Finely grate the zest of 1 lemon (about 1 tsp) into a small bowl.
Squeeze in juice from one half of the lemon.
Add sugar, 1 cup yogurt, 1 tsp salt, and ¼ tsp pepper.
Finely chop one-quarter of the onion and stir into raita.
Let sit at room temperature at least 1 hour or chill up to overnight.
To Marinate the Chicken:
Purée ginger, garlic, cinnamon, cardamom, juice of remaining lemon half, and remaining three-quarters of onion, ½ cup yogurt, 2 tsp. salt, and ¾ tsp. pepper in a blender until smooth. (I used a Vitamix.) Transfer to a medium bowl.
If using bone-in chicken thighs, pull skin off chicken thighs and discard.
Transfer the chicken to the bowl with ginger mixture, add bay leaves, and toss to combine.
Cover with a plate and let marinate at room temperature at least 2 hours or preferably chill up to overnight.
To Make the Rice and Assemble the Dish:
Place a rack in lower third of oven; preheat to 350°, preferably on convection.
Bring salt and 3 quarts of water to a rapid boil in a large pot over high heat.
Meanwhile, place rice in a medium bowl. Cover with cool tap water, use your hand to gently agitate the grains, and drain. Repeat at least 2 more times until water runs clear enough to see your hand through it.
Add drained rice all at once to boiling salted water. Initially the water will stop boiling and the rice will sink to the bottom. Stir a few times with a wooden spoon to prevent sticking, then stop stirring. After a couple of minutes, the water will return to a simmer and a few grains will begin appearing near the surface. The rice is ready to drain when the grains have nearly doubled in size, the water returns to a boil, and most of the rice rapidly bubbles to the surface. When you bite into a grain, you want to see a hard white core; just like pasta cooked al dente, the grains should remain firm. Depending on the quality of your rice, this can take anywhere from 3–7 minutes, so begin tasting the grains early. (I boiled my rice for 7 minutes.)
Drain rice and rinse with water until cool. Set aside.
Cook onion and ghee in a 4–6-qt. Dutch oven over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until onions are golden and crisp, 8–10 minutes. The sides and bottom of pot may brown and even develop some char. Using a slotted spoon, transfer onions to a plate. (I used a 6-quart enameled cast iron pot.)
Reduce heat to medium-low and toast nuts in ghee in same pot, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and darkened in color, 2–3 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer nuts to another plate; set aside for serving. (I used raw slivered almonds and raw walnut pieces.)
Transfer half of ghee in pot to a small bowl; set aside.
Increase heat to medium-high and sprinkle sugar over remaining ghee in pot. Cook, stirring frequently, until sugar forms deeply caramelized clumps, 3–5 minutes.
Add chicken, scraping in marinade, and bring to a simmer.
Remove from heat and arrange chicken and marinade in an even layer.
Sprinkle with dried fruit and one-third of fried onions.
Top with rice.
Poke 5–7 holes into rice with the back of a wooden spoon until you reach the chicken. Drizzle reserved ghee over and top with another third of fried onions.
Cover with a tight-fitting lid and return to medium heat. Cook until you can hear the chicken gurgling in the pot and wisps of steam just begin to escape from lid, about 5 minutes. Do not open the lid at any point! If you peek, you will risk losing too much steam, preventing the rice from properly cooking through.
Transfer pot to oven and bake, covered, 45 minutes. Let rest at least 15 minutes and up to 1 hour before uncovering.
Using a large spoon or small plate, gently scoop rice off chicken and transfer to a platter. Carefully spoon chicken thighs and any sauce over rice. Top with reserved fried nuts and remaining onions.
Serve alongside onion raita while ghee is still hot and rice is steamy.