Fragrant with spices, studded with chunks of chicken and toasted pine nuts and scattered with pistachios, this rice dish only needs a crisp lemony salad as an accompaniment.
It’s a good weekday supper dish, especially if you’ve got some cold chicken left over from a roast. If not, just poach, roast or fry some chicken pieces, take the meat off the bone in bite-sized chunks, and get stuck into the recipe.
Chicken Pilaf with Pine Nuts and Pistachios
15g butter + 1 tbspn olive oil
1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
2 fat cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 cinnamon stick
5 cardamon pods, lightly crushed
1-2 tspn ras el hanout, to taste
200g basmati rice
250g cooked chicken, cut into bite-sized chunks
1/2 tspn saffron threads
450ml/1 pint good-quality chicken stock, preferably home-made
2 tbsp pine nuts
1 heaped tbsp pistachio nuts, shelled and roughly chopped
Leaves from 1 x 30g bunch of parsley, roughly chopped
Put the saffron threads in a small bowl and cover with hot water. Leave to steep. Toast the pine nuts in a dry frying pan until they’re coloured – don’t let them catch – and set aside.
Melt the butter with the oil in a large, deep frying pan over a medium heat and add the onion. Fry gently for around 10 minutes then stir in the garlic and spices (except for the saffron) and cook for a further three minutes.
Pour in the rice and stir well to coat in the buttery juices. Add the chicken, the stock and the saffron and its water and bring to a boil.
Reduce to a gentle simmer, cover the pan and cook for 10 minutes. Stir in the toasted pine nuts, put the lid back on and cook for another 2 minutes until the rice is tender but still has a slight bite. If it’s still too soupy, remove the lid and cook off the liquid, stirring.
Stir through the chopped parsley, scatter with the chopped pistachios and serve.