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Twice-cooked chicken with grain salad and pancetta

You'll need

8 boneless chicken thighs, skin on 300 gm coarse rock salt 3 star anise 2 cinnamon quills 3 thyme sprigs 2 fresh bay leaves 500 ml (2 cups) canola oil 550 ml olive oil 4 slices thin, flat mild pancetta 100 gm natural yoghurt 1 tsp sumac 2 tsp coriander seeds, toasted 40 gm pistachio kernels ¼ cup (loosely packed) mint leaves   Grain salad 200 gm dried chickpeas, soaked overnight, drained 100 gm wild rice 110 gm farro (see note) 4 fresh dates, pitted ¼ cup (loosely packed) flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped 4 golden shallots, finely chopped 60 ml (¼ cup) olive oil Juice of 1 lemon


  • 01
  • Place chicken thighs in a single layer in a non-reactive dish. Combine salt, spices, thyme and bay leaves in a bowl, mix well, then scatter over chicken, turn to coat, cover and refrigerate while the flavours develop (1 hour).
  • 02
  • Preheat oven to 160C. Remove chicken from salt, rinse under cold water and pat dry with absorbent paper. Place in a single layer in a large casserole, cover with canola oil and 500ml olive oil and cook in oven until tender (1½-2 hours). Remove from oil with a slotted spoon (discard oil), set aside to cool.
  • 03
  • Meanwhile, for grain salad, preheat oven to 200C. Combine chickpeas with cold water in a saucepan, bring to the boil over medium heat and cook until tender (40-45 minutes), drain and set aside to cool. Meanwhile, cook rice in a saucepan of boiling water until tender (20-30 minutes), drain and set aside to cool. Meanwhile, toast farro in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until fragrant (2-3 minutes). Add 250ml water, bring to the boil, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer until grains are tender (15-20 minutes). Remove from heat, stand for 5 minutes, then cool completely. Combine with chickpeas and rice. Roast dates on a baking tray until crisp (2-3 minutes), coarsely chop and add to remaining ingredients, season to taste and set aside.
  • 04
  • Roast pancetta on a tray lined with baking paper until crisp (3-5 minutes), drain on absorbent paper and set aside.
  • 05
  • Heat remaining olive oil in a large frying pan over high heat, add chicken and cook in batches, skin-side down, turning once, until golden and crisp (2-3 minutes). Transfer to a baking tray and roast until warmed through (5-7 minutes). Spoon yoghurt onto serving plates, scatter with sumac, coriander seeds, pistachios and mint, top with grain salad and chicken and serve.
Note Farro is an ancient wheat grain available from David Jones food halls and selected delicatessens. If unavailable, substitute pearl barley or another whole grain.

This recipe is from the April 2010 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.

“On a recent holiday in Tasmania, my husband and I ate at Hobart’s fantastic Smolt restaurant. I had their twice-cooked chicken with grain salad and pancetta: it was sublime. Would the chef pass on the recipe?”
Juli Plant, Cairns, Qld

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To request a recipe, write to Fare Exchange, Australian Gourmet Traveller, GPO Box 4088, Sydney, NSW 2001, or email us. All requests should include the restaurant’s name and address or business card, as well as your name and address.

At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people

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