If, like us, you are looking to add to your one-pot-wonders repertoire, do try this one for size. Tomatoes, peppers and lemons make up a simple, delicious sauce called matbucha. The chicken thighs take on these flavours and add to the sauce a savoury richness. Cracked wheat kernels absorb all of this as they cook, giving the dish texture and substance. This one pot contains a wholesome, balanced meal – hearty and satisfying without being heavy or bland, full of different textures, and incredibly tasty. Saving on dishes is the least of your reasons to make it; that is simply an added bonus.
Serves: 4 (or a greedy 3!)
Time: 1hr 15 mins – 1hr 30 mins
Photography: Patricia Niven
Season: Spring/Summer/Year Round
1kg skin-on chicken thighs
2 tsp salt
1⁄2 lemon, quartered and sliced very thinly
1 red chilli, sliced thinly
2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
1 long red pepper, cut into thick rings
3 plum tomatoes, cut into thick slices
2 tsp sugar
20 cherry tomatoes (any type will do – but a mix is really nice)
1 small bunch of coriander, roughly chopped
200g coarse cracked wheat
Place the chicken thighs skin-side down in a large saucepan or saute pan and season with one teaspoon of salt. Put the pan over a low heat and allow the fat to render out and the skin to crisp up; it will take about 15–20 minutes. Flip the thighs over and cook for 5 minutes on the other side, then carefully lift them onto a plate, leaving all the fat produced in the pan on the heat. Add the lemon slices, chilli and garlic, and saute until a strong aroma of lemons comes from the pan. This will take about 3 minutes.
Increase the heat to medium-high and add the pepper rings. Saute for 3 minutes, stirring all the time, then add the plum tomato slices. Season with the second teaspoon of salt and the sugar, and mix well. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until the tomato slices start to fall apart and create a sauce.
Return the chicken thighs to the pan, skin-side up, add the whole cherry tomatoes, sprinkle the chopped coriander on top and finally add 100ml water. Reduce the heat to a minimum, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, then remove the lid. Stir a little to make sure nothing is catching on the bottom and place the lid back on, but this time don’t close it entirely to allow some steam to escape. Simmer very slowly for another 15 minutes.
You can eat the dish just as it is, if you wish, but the best thing to do is to sprinkle the cracked wheat into the pot, stir a little and bring it back to the boil. Then re-cover with the lid, remove from the heat and set aside for 15 minutes while the wheat slowly cooks. Serve, all in one.