Berbere chicken and pecorino rice

This is an indulgent, fragrantly-spiced version of chicken and risotto. If you want to make this a bit lighter, you can skip the heavy cream and garnish the dish with yogurt. Adapted from Baco.


  • 3 lb bone-in chicken thighs
  • 2 T berbere spice
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 5 shallots, cut into thin slices
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 1/3 c short grain rice (sushi rice will do)
  • 1 1/4 c dry white wine
  • 2 c chicken broth
  • 1/4 c grated Pecorino cheese
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 lemon, 1/2 cut into thin slices, the other half reserved
  • 20 g fresh ginger, peeled and cut into thin slices
  • 1 c heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup parsley leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 c mint leaves, chopped
  • 1 scallion, green part only, cut into thin slices on the bias
  • salt and pepper


  1. Place the chicken in a large bowl and toss with 1.5 T berbere and 1 t salt, until the chicken is evenly coated on all sides. (Note: you can add a bit more berbere spice if you need to.)
  2. Heat the oil in a wide, high-sided frying pan over high heat until hot and shimmering. Add chicken to the pan, skin side down, and sear until very crisp and well browned, about 5 minutes.
  3. Flip the pieces of chicken and sear on the second side for 1 minute longer. Carefully remove chicken from the pan, transfer to a plate, and set aside. (Note: You may need to do the chicken in batches depending on the size of your pan. You want to make sure it isn’t crowded in there to make sure it browns.)
  4. In the same pan, reduce the heat to medium low, and add shallots. Cook for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sweating and soft but not browned.
  5. Adds the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, until aromatic.
  6. Turn the heat up to medium-high heat and add rice, 1/2 t salt, and the remaining 1/2 T berbere. Toast the rice for 1 minute, stirring to coat the rice with spices, until it goes slightly golden.
  7. Add the wine and cook until the rice has absorbed the liquid, 2-3 minutes.
  8. Add the broth, lemon slices, bay leaf, and ginger, and mix gently to combine.
  9. Sprinkle with 2 T Pecorino, then place the chicken over the rice mixture skin-side up, and bring to a simmer.
  10. Cover and cook until the rice is just tender, about 17 minutes, and the chicken’s internal temperature is 165 F.
  11. As the rice and chicken are cooking, heat the cream, a pinch of salt and pepper, and 2 T Pecorino (I added more) in a small sauce pan over medium high heat, whisking frequently, until the mixture reaches a low boil.
  12. Lower the heat and simmer for 1 minutes, continuing to whisky, then remove from heat and set aside.
  13. When the rice has finished cooking, remove from heat and pour the warm cream mixture over the rice.
  14. Squeeze the juice from the remaining 1/2 lemon over the rice, then sprinkle with the herbs and scallions.

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