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Persian-style Chicken Pilaf

It’s a midweek-friendly one-pot rice dish, but not something you’d typically expect from me. But don’t look away – my version of Persian-style chicken pilaf is everything you need from a rice dinner… and then some. It’s savoury, comforting and has bursts of sweetness and freshness that make every mouthful a gorgeous celebration of flavours.

PREP TIME
10 minutes
COOK TIME
20 minutes
SERVES
4
Ingredients

large pinch of saffron strands

1 tbsp olive oil

500g (1 lb) boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into large chunks

½ tsp sea salt

1 cinnamon stick

6 green cardamom pods

a generous grinding of black pepper

3 tbsp pomegranate molasses

⅓ cup raisins

2 cups basmati rice

2½ cups chicken stock

30g (1 oz) unsalted butter

1 cup Greek yoghurt

arils from ½ pomegranate (optional)

 

Herbed olive oil

3 tbsp pine nuts, roughly chopped

¼ cup finely chopped parsley, plus extra to garnish

¼ cup finely chopped dill, plus extra to garnish

2 tbsp crispy fried shallots, plus extra to garnish

zest of 1 lemon

juice of ½ lemon

1 tsp sea salt

Steps
  • Step 1

    Place the saffron into a small bowl and cover with 2 tablespoons of warm water. Allow to soak and ‘bloom’ while the chicken cooks.

  • Step 2

    Heat a large, heavy-based saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the butter and olive oil. When the butter starts to foam, add the chicken and salt. Sear for 3-4 minutes or until evenly coloured but not quite cooked through. Add the cinnamon stick, cardamom pods and pepper, then drizzle in the pomegranate molasses and add the raisins. Give everything a stir, then add the rice and toss until well combined. Pour over the chicken stock. Drizzle over the saffron and saffron soaking liquid.

  • Step 3

    Close the lid and reduce the heat to low. Cook for 12-15 minutes or until the rice is tender.

  • Step 4

    In the meantime, for the herbed olive oil, mix all the ingredients in a small bowl and set aside until ready to serve.

  • Step 5

    To serve, divide the yoghurt among 4 serving plates and spread it out. Spoon the chicken and rice over the top. Drizzle generously with the herbed oil and scatter over pomegranate arils, extra parsley, dill and fried shallots. Alternatively, to serve family-style, use a fork to fluff up the rice in the pan and then dollop the yoghurt over the top. Drizzle with the herbed oil and scatter over the remaining garnishes.

Marion's Kitchen is for everyone who finds joy in flavour and happiness in every bite. Marion's Kitchen is for everyone who finds joy in flavour and happiness in every bite.

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