Cardamom Chicken with Rice Pilaf


Sprinkled with cardamom, roasted until crisp, and topped with an apple-flavored sauce, chicken legs become extraordinary. The chicken is perfectly matched by the raisin-studded rice pilaf that's also flavored with cardamom.Plus: More Chicken Recipes and Tips

Cardamom Chicken with Rice Pilaf
Photo: © Susan Spungen


  • 4 chicken legs (about 3 pounds)

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons cooking oil

  • Ground cardamom

  • Salt

  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper

  • 1 tablespoon butter, cut into 4 pieces

  • 1 small onion, minced

  • 1 1/2 cups basmati or other long-grain rice

  • 1/4 cup raisins

  • 2 1/4 cups canned low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock

  • 1/4 cup apple juice


  1. Heat the oven to 450°. Coat the chicken with 1 tablespoon of the oil and season with 1/2 teaspoon cardamom, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the pepper. Put the chicken in a roasting pan and top each leg with a piece of the butter. Roast the chicken until just done, about 30 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, heat the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons oil over moderately low heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and 1 teaspoon cardamom and stir to coat the rice with the oil. Add the raisins, broth, and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let sit, without removing the lid, for 5 minutes. Stir with a fork.

  3. Remove the chicken from the pan. Pour off all the fat from the pan. Set the pan over the heat; add the apple juice and 1/8 teaspoon each cardamom and salt. Cook, scraping the bottom of the pan to dislodge any brown bits, until reduced to 2 tablespoons, about 3 minutes. Serve the chicken topped with a drizzle of the sauce and with the rice pilaf alongside.

Suggested Pairing

Raisins and apple juice contribute a slightly sweet fruitiness to this dish, contrasting with the cardamom. A California chardonnay that's oak aged—as most of them are—will provide a similar juxtaposition of sweet fruitiness and spice.

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