Persian Chelo With Chicken

"An Iranian dish of rice and chicken baked together on top of the stove to give a crisp crust and soft filling. The rice and filling can be served separately without the final baking. The first seven ingredients are for the rice. The remainder are for the chicken with the exception of the pistachios and the candied orange peel which is the garnish. I apologize for the presentation, we are in the process of moving and I did not have a serving platter, so aluminum foil and a cookie sheet had to serve the purpose. This recipe is from Food & Drink Magazine Spring 2015. We thought it was wonderful, gets a little spicier the next day but not over the top."
photo by Kim738 photo by Kim738
photo by Kim738
Ready In:




  • 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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