Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Saffron Scented Chicken Pilaf

Apologies if the cooking is a bit light on lately, I am too busy going to Christmas parties & enjoying other peoples efforts so not much time for the home kitchen. It is making a nice change I must say. So last night I did my first bit of cooking for the week. This lovely & simple rice dish from rom Nigella Lawson, Forever Summer , was perfect for a quick mid week fix, the chicken flavours after marinating in yoghurt, lemon & cinamon were spectacular - dont think I have tried this flavouring before & the subtle & exotic flavours in the rice, cardoman, nuts, saffron, etc were beautiful.

Saffron Scented Chicken Pilaf

500g chicken breast, cut into approx 2 x 1cm pieces
1 x 200g tub Greek yoghurt
juice of half a lemon
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon saffron threads
1 litre chicken stock
15g unsalted butter
2-3 tablespoons groundnut oil
500g basmati rice
3-4 cardamom pods, bruised
juice and zest of 1 lemon
50g cashew nuts
50g flaked almonds
25g pine nuts
3-4 tablespoons shelled pistachio nuts
small bunch fresh parsley, chopped

Marinate the chicken in the yoghurt, lemon and cinnamon for about an hour. Soak the saffron threads in the chicken stock.

Over medium heat, in large pan with a lid, melt the butter along with 1 tablespoon oil and add the rice, stirring it to coat gently. Pur in the saffron & chicken stock, add the cardamom pods, lemon juice & zest & bring the pan to the boil, then put on the lid & turn down to very low heat for about 10-15 minutes, by which time the rice should have absorbed & the liquid cooked through.

While the rice is cooking, shake the excess marinade off the chicken using a sieve. Then fry the meat in a hot pan with the remaining spoonful or so of oil, do in batches if necessary.

When the rice is cooked, take it off the heat & fork through the chicken pieces. Toast the nuts except pistachios, by shaking in an oil free frypan until they begin to colour. Add to the pilaf along with chopped parsley & top with chopped pistachios.

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