Preheat the oven to 180c / 350f / gas 4
Mix the ground coriander, cumin, turmeric and chilli powder with a pinch of salt. Mix this spice mix into half of the butter.
Heat a heavy casserole on a gentle heat. Rub the breasts of the chicken dry with some kitchen paper. Smear the remaining half of the soft butter on to the breasts.
Place the chicken, breast side down into the heated casserole. The butter should sizzle a bit and that tells you the casserole is hot enough. If it doesn’t sizzle, whip out the chicken immediately and allow the casserole to get hotter.
Allow the chicken breasts to become golden brown, making sure the casserole doesn’t get so hot that it actually burns the butter. This will involve a bit of manoeuvring, perhaps sitting the chicken on its side and so on.
Season the coloured chicken breasts with a pinch of salt and pepper. Allow to cool for a few minutes and then smear the spiced butter all over it.
Place the chicken back in the casserole, breast side up. Pop the chillies around the chicken and sprinkle over the lemon juice.
Cover with greasproof paper and a tight fitting lid and place in the preheated oven. Cook for 90 minutes.
Remove the casserole from the oven and check to ensure that the chicken is fully cooked. This can be done in several ways.
One way, the best in my opinion, is to insert a metal skewer in between the leg and the breast. This is the last place to cook in the chicken so is the best place to check. Count to ten seconds. Remove the skewer and test the temperature of the skewer on the back of your hand. If it doesn’t feel so hot as to make you immediately pull the skewer away from your hand with a start, then the chicken probably is not cooked.
The other way to test is to endeavour to extract a little juice from the same place, between the breast and the leg to see if it is completely clear. If it is not clear and if there is any trace of pink in the juice, then it is not cooked. If this is the case put the chicken back in the oven for a further 10 minutes and repeat the test.
Remove the cooked chicken and the chillies, which by now will be collapsed and a bit sad looking, from the casserole and keep warm in the oven with the temperature reduced to 50c / 100f / gas ½. Allow the chicken at least 15 minutes to rest before carving.
Strain out all of the cooking juices into a bowl and allow it to settle for a minute or two. The butter and chicken fat will rise to the surface of the liquid. Spoon off the buttery fat, now full of the flavour of the spices, and save it for roasting vegetables. It is particularly good with parsnips or for tossing into crushed new potatoes.
Place the degreased juices back in the casserole and add the cream. Bring to a simmer and cook until the sauce is lightly thickened. Add the chopped coriander leaves. Taste and correct seasoning. Carve the chicken neatly and serve with the sauce. The chillies should be used to garnish the dish and the heat fiends will find them delicious to eat.
Serve this dish with a plain Pilaf Rice.