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Author Notes: I started cooking this dish last winter, and now turn to it as a comfort, because it incorporates so many flavors. To me, chicken - as a meat - lacks alot of flavor and the best way to enjoy it is to cook it for a long time. You need patience to make this dish but most of the time it's simmering on the stove, so there isn't too much busy work. I love it with brown rice, although you can have it with roti (Indian bread) or simply with a side of yoghurt. —Rohit Mitter
- 8 chicken legs, with skin
- olive oil
- 2 large carrots, roughly chopped
- 1 leek, white and light green parts, roughly chopped
- 1 red onion, coarsely chopped
- 4 bay leafs
- 4 sprigs thyme
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 8 cloves, whole
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
- 3/4 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 3/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1/4 cup milk
- bunches cilantro leaves
- 1 lemon
- 3 tablespoons canola oil
- 3 shallots, sliced
- salt and pepper
- Heat olive oil in cast iron skillet. Season chicken legs with salt and pepper and cook in oiled skillet over high heat until skin is browned; approximately 2-3 minutes a side, untouched. Remove and set aside.
- Add chopped carrots, leek, and red onion to skillet and cook over medium heat for approximately 5 minutes. Add bay leafs, thyme, cinnamon stick, cloves, garlic, and pinch salt and pepper and continue cooking until vegetables are softened, approximately 2 more minutes.
- While vegetables are cooking, toast fenugree, coriander, cumin, and mustard seeds until fragrent. Grind seeds in an electric coffee / spice grinder until medium-fine and add to skillet. Incorporate spices and stir for 1 minute before adding 1-2 tablespoons of chicken stock (the liquid helps de-glaze the pan and helps keep the seeds from sticking to the pan).
- After adding the stock, add the ginger, turmeric, and red chili powders and garam masala to the skillet. If it gets pasty, add some more stock. When all the flavors are incorporated - approximately 1 minute - add remaining stock and bring to a simmer.
- Once simmering, add back the chicken pieces and cook for 1 1/2 hours on low heat. It's important to ensure that there is enough liquid in the pan to cover approximately half of the chicken. While chicken is cooking, caramelize the shallots in canola oil by cooking on medium heat for 8 - 10 minutes and set aside.
- After 1 1/2 hours, remove chicken pieces and set aside. Turn heat to high and while stirring, reduce liquid to a syrupy texture. Before finishing, add the milk and incorporate.
- Place chicken on bed of rice (my preference) and top with gravy. Garnish with lemon, carmelized shallots, and cilantro leaves. It's a long cook but well worth the effort!