Persian Chelo With Chicken
photo by Kim738
- Ready In:
- 1⁄2 cup butter
- 1 cup onion, chopped
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt (to taste)
- 2 cups basmati rice, rinsed
- 3 cups water
- 1⁄4 cup olive oil
- 2 cups onions, chopped
- 1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger (I used tbsp of fresh ginger)
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 teaspoons turmeric
- 2 lbs chicken thighs, boneless and skinless cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt, to taste
- 1⁄2 teaspoon pepper (the salt and pepper amounts are just guesses as I didn't measure and the recipe doesn't say)
- 1 cup canned tomato, chopped
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 6 cups spinach, washed stemmed and sliced (I used a large bag of regular spinach)
- 3⁄4 cup raisins (I used golden raisins)
- 2 tablespoons of fresh mint, chopped
- 2 tablespoons pistachios, toasted and chopped
- 2 tablespoons candied orange peel, sliced (this is optional and I did not use)
- 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.
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