Chicken pilaf with pistachios & lemon
For the first time in my life, I find myself exhausted at the end of the year. I don’t know if it’s a sign of getting older (please say no!) or if it’s just because I’ve worked harder this year than I’ve ever worked before but I am physically tired and am struggling to get out of bed every morning. I used to be the type of person who jumped out of bed the moment my alarm went off. I didn’t even know how to ‘snooze’ the alarm. It is now a much-loved button I press every morning for another 15 minutes of shut-eye. Needless to say, I can’t wait for our almost-month-long holiday in December, the only problem is that I have to try to finish the mountain of work ahead of me in a few short weeks. But I shan’t complain, I am very fortunate to be working and I do really love my job.
When dinner time comes around, I really don’t have energy for long, tedious processes (nothing new here, really) and I’d like dinner to kind of take care of itself. Roast chicken is a great example of this as it takes me all of 5 minutes to prep the bird, add some onion, garlic & wine to the roasting tin and allow it to roast to perfection while I
relax with a glass of wine bath the kids and check e-mails. I also love that roast chicken makes the best leftovers. If I’m feeding a crowd I always roast a few chickens just to make sure I get lovely shredded chicken for sandwiches the next day but if it’s just the 4 of us eating, I roast a large free-range chicken. There’s always left-overs and I love how quickly it’s transported into a delicious meal.
This pilaf is fantastic when made with left-over roast chicken (or shop-bought rotisserie chicken) but you can of course also use chicken breasts cubed and fry them off with the onion before adding the rice. I use Basmati rice for my pilaf as it’s low GI, beautifully aromatic and makes for a great, fluffy pilaf. I added pistachios and lemon to the finished pilaf to add even more fragrance and texture and served it with lots of fresh parsley.
- 4 handfuls shredded chicken/4 chicken breasts cubed
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2cm fresh ginger, grated
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 tablespoon garam masala
- 2 cups basmati/jasmine rice
- 4 cups chicken stock
- zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 2 handfuls pistachios, toasted
- salt to taste
- In a large saucepan, fry the onions (and chicken if using raw chicken) until the onion starts to brown. Add the garlic & ginger and saute for another 2-3 minutes.
- Add the spices and stir to combine.
- Add the rice and stir to coat the rice in the spices.
- Add the chicken stock and turn down the heat. Allow to simmer gently for 10-15 minutes until there is only a little bit of stock left in the pot and the rice is almost cooked.
- Add the shredded chicken (if using cooked chicken) and turn the heat off and place a lid on the pot. Allow to steam for 15-20 minutes until the rice is cooked.
- When the rice is cooked, fluff it with a fork and stir in the lemon zest, juice and pistachios.
- Serve with fresh parsley.