Persian Chelo With Chicken

READY IN: 2hrs




  • Soak the rice for at least half an hour, drain and rinse until water runs clear.
  • Melt 3 tbsp butter in a heavy pot over medium heat. Add onions and saute for 5 minutes or until softened.
  • Add allspice, cinnamon and black pepper. Season with salt. Cook for 1 minute or until fragrant.
  • Add rice and water and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and steam for 10 to 12 minutes or until slightly el dente.
  • Remove from heat and spread rice on a baking sheet to cool. Season with more salt if needed.
  • For the chicken filling: Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onions and saute for 6 to 8 minutes or until just beginning to brown. Add remaining oil and stir in garlic, cinnamon, ginger, cumin, coriander, cayenne pepper and turmeric, and cook for 1 minute or until fragrant.
  • Season chicken with salt and pepper. Add chicken to skillet and saute for 5 minutes or until beginning to brown. Add tomatoes and stock and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until sauce is thick and chicken is no longer pink. Add spinach and raisins and cook for 2 more minutes or until spinach wilts. Stir in mint. Taste for seasoning and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
  • Melt remaining butter in a 10 inch nonstick skillet (used my wonderful cast iron pan for this) over medium heat until butter is foamy. Remove and reserve 2 tbsp of melted butter. Remove pan from heat and add half of rice, spreading it evenly over base of skillet. Use a spatula to compress the rice slightly. Spoon chicken misture over the rice in an even layer. Finish with remaining rice, again compressing with a spatula. Use the handle of a wooden spoon to make a hole down through the centre of the mixture to let steam escape. Drizzle with reserved butter.
  • Cover and cook over medium heat for 25 to 30 minutes or until rice has formed a golden crust on the bottom. Watch so it does not get too dark. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Use a spatula to loosen sides. Reverse pan onto a large serving plate to the golden bottom is on the top.
  • Break up mixture with a spoon. Garnish with pistachios and candied orange.