I've been cooking this, or a version of it, for years. But it wasn't until I returned to it recently—having found a scribbled recipe in an old notepad—that I realized it was really a version of my newly learned squid and orzo dish; the cooking method is virtually identical. Everything is linked.

Serves 6


  • 2 Tbsp. regular olive oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and finely grated or minced
  • 1 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp. coriander seeds
  • 2 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs, each chopped into 4 pieces
  • 1 1/4 cups wild rice
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 quart chicken broth
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Handful finely chopped, fresh cilantro


    Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Put a wide, flameproof Dutch oven, that will take all the ingredients snugly, and that comes with a lid, on the stove. Add the oil, and cook the onion for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring once or twice, on a low to medium heat, until just softened. Since we have turmeric a-coming, I'’d advise against using a wooden spoon or spatula.

    Add the garlic to the oniony pan and stir in the spices.

    Turn the heat to high and add the chicken pieces, stirring for 3 minutes until sealed (they will not color much).

    Add the rice and stir for 1 minute, then add the cranberries and the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Clamp on the lid and transfer to the oven and cook for 1 hour.

    Remove from the oven, check that the rice is cooked—the grains will be swollen and starting to split open but still have bite to them—and season with salt and pepper, then put back in the oven for another 15 minutes, without the lid on this time. Because the wild rice (it's actually a grass, not a rice) doesn't absorb all of the liquid, this isn't dry like a regular pilaf but makes a scant, rich yet runny sauce. And it's wonderfully dramatic-looking: the chicken and the cranberries are now golden against the blackly gleaming spikes of wild rice.

    Stir in half the cilantro and sprinkle the rest over the top. That's if you're serving straight from the pan you've cooked in, as I have here; otherwise, stir in half the cilantro, transfer to a serving dish and scatter the remaining cilantro on top.

    From Simply Nigella: Feel Good Food by Nigella Lawson (Flatiron Books).

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