Bulgar and saffron with harissa-griddled chicken, tomatoes and crispy kale
This dish has layers of flavours and textures, starting with the nutty bulgar wheat, salty crisped kale, sweet- hot tomatoes, tangy crisp fennel, charred chicken and cooling yoghurt. It’s the kind of dish that feels right to eat all year round- light and delicious for these warmer months, but also one where you can excite your winter produce-a good way of resuscitating tomatoes to life, allowing the sweetness and spice to slowly caramelise in the oven. We love this way of preparing tomatoes, specially in advance, we often make a whole load of them, excellent added to salads- or even cooked into a sauce. We will usually, the day before a photo shoot, roast a big bunch like this, as they always come in handy when giving an extra winning last minute tweak to a dish. They are also fantastic simply on toast with goats cheese and chopped chilli.
What makes a salad truly hearty, one that you can serve as a substantial lunch or dinner to all, is often a carb or a pulsey element- delicious sourdough croutons, little roasted potatoes- or often, for us, it means a plump grain, nice when they are an element, not the main bulk of a salad. Bulgar being a great grain for adding that component, instant to make, adding good texture and great for taking on tastes. This can always be changed according to what you have in the cupboard- couscous, quinoa. We also like to serve this with crumbled feta, so maybe play around with crumbling a favourite cheese. You will feel silently pleased with yourself when serving up this pretty dish, it has ease- it can all be prepared in advance and served at room temperature, so when your friends are ready to eat you just pile it all up on one big serving plate- and allow all the ingredients to sing for themselves.
300ml stock (veg, chicken or just plain water)
2 tbsp harissa
4 big sweet tomatoes, cut in halves
2 chicken thighs (boneless)
½ orange, juiced
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
2 big handfuls of kale, washed and roughly chopped
toasted sliced almonds
small bunch dill, chopped
Small bunch coriander, chopped
½ big red chilli finely sliced
1. Preheat an oven to 180
2. mix together in a bowl a big glug of olive oil, squeeze of half an orange, 1 tbsp harissa, 1 tbsp maple syrup, pinch of dried oregano, 1 tsp dried cumin, 1 tsp sweet paprika, squeeze lemon and zest and season. Add your thighs, turning until cover. Set aside for 30 mins (or more) to marinade.
3. Add, facing up, your halved tomatoes to a lined baking tray. Mix together in a bowl 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp harissa, a big pinch of saffron, 1 tbsp maple syrup and season. Spread over your tomatoes, turning over to coat. Sprinkle a little brown sugar over the top. Place in the oven for around 40 minutes.
4. Add bulgar and stock to a pot with a big pinch of saffron, squeeze a little lemon. Simmer until cooked, around 10-15 minutes. When just under cooked take of the stove and leave the lid on to keep warm.
5. Very thinly slice the fennel lengthways, squeeze lemon over to marinade.
6. Add your kale to a baking tray (spreading evenly), sprinkle in a little olive oil and season. Place in the preheated oven for approximately 10 minutes- you want them light and crisped.
7. Get a griddle pan as hot as you can and add the thighs, leaves for around 3-5 minutes without moving (so you get the deep charred lines), turn over. Make sure they are cooked through but cutting in. Take off and slice.
8. Serve on a plate- bulger and kale, then the tomatoes and fennel, followed by the chicken, toasted almonds, sliced chillies and herbs. Make a simple dressing for the top- a little harissa mixed with olive oil, lemon, balsamic and maple syrup. then dollop yoghurt on top