Tag Archives: chicken

Chicken and Rice: Middle Eastern Style

Growing up I had no idea how lucky I was to have such a wide variety of friends. When I was really little, living in Portland, my best friend’s dad was a hunter and her mom used to cook up venison and feed it to us. I’m pretty sure she thought I was malnourished because she would force feed me until I felt like I was going to explode. I can’t say I blame her. I looked like a Samalian baby until about the age of…..well….now.

Then in about 5th grade, when we moved to Yakima, I made another friend who was Filipina. Her mom made the most amazing meals. I don’t remember the name of anything, except lumpias. Lumpias are like eggrolls but about 900% better. She also made the best sticky rice I have ever had. I’m a total sucker for sticky rice. I’m pretty sure that’s how Jon won me over. He owned a rice cooker.

Awww, I love this picture…

In junior high and high school my best friend was Mexican. Her mom would cook us carne asada, Mexican rice and beans, hominy soup…I could go on and on. Their house always smelled delicious and they treated me like a daughter. We would spend our weekends pigging out on homemade Mexican food, teasing her poor dog, and telling her little brother he was adopted (he was about a foot taller than everyone else in the family and had red hair….it made no sense).

My senior year of high school, I became good friends with Marcel. Her family was middle eastern and hilarious. One minute things would be totally normal, quiet, peaceful…and the next they would all be screaming at each other in a foreign language and I would be sitting there utterly confused with what the hell was happening. Her mom, who went by Mary, made particularly good food. There were tons of things she made that were really delicious, but the one thing that stuck out in my mind was this chicken and rice dish. It had this dark brown rice, chicken on the bone, and you baked it and served it with plain yogurt. It sounds a little bizarre but trust me, it’s unreal how good it is.

When I was about 20, Marcel’s family was going to move to California. Marcel was not a cook and she told me I should learn how to make this rice dish. I asked Mary to teach me and she gladly lead me into the kitchen. She literally had no measurements for anything, she just eyeballed everything. She didn’t even know the name of half of the ingredients or where to get them. I would ask, “Okay Mary, what kind of rice is that?” and she would reply, “Oh…you know…you just get it at Costco in one of those big bags or buckets….you know?” No Mary, I don’t know. There are like 10 different kinds of rice you could be talking about. I would also ask how much of something to add to the dish and she would just pour it in and say, “You know….about that much.” I learned next to nothing. Don’t get me wrong, it was fun to watch her, and fun to eat it after we made it, but it was too hard for me to learn from the master. She was too good at her craft and I was just some lowly white girl trying to learn to make something she had been making for years!

That is, I WAS some lowly white girl until I found a recipe online with exact measurements and how long to cook it for. Something sweet Mary did not know how to do. Thanks anyways Mary, but I am better with steps…and measurements…and names of ingredients. Want to learn how to make this chicken and rice dish, otherwise known as palau?

Here’s what you’ll need:

3 cups of BASMATI rice (now we know what kind of rice it is)
2 large onions
1/2 cup vegetable oil
5 chicken thighs
5 chicken drumsticks
1 cup chicken brother
2 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp Kitchen Bouquet (you can get this at most grocery stores in the spice isle…this is one of the things that Mary didn’t know where to get it)

Preheat oven to 500* and put a large pot of water on to boil.
First, you’ll need to take the skin off of the chicken pieces. If you use a paper towel and just pull it off, it comes off pretty easily. Set chicken aside.

Finely chop your onions. Put a dutch oven or a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add your vegetable oil and when it gets hot and starts to “shimmer” add your chopped onions. When onions start turning a light brown color add your chicken pieces.

Lower the heat to medium and stir once every couple of minutes. It will be a little awkward to stir since there are large pieces of chicken in there, but just do your best and try to brown the sides of your chicken as evenly as you can. The onions will start caramelizing a bit more and turning into a type of sauce. Be sure to not let the onions burn. Once the onions and oil are thick like a sauce and caramelized, and your chicken has a little bit of color (about 10 minutes after adding the chicken to the pan) add 1/4 of the chicken broth. Stir and let the sauce thicken again.

Add the rest of your broth 1/4 cup at a time, letting the sauce thicken after each addition and stirring every minute or so. After the full cup of broth is incorporated, and the sauce has thickened, place a lid over the top and turn heat to low.

Let simmer for 10 minutes.

Place your rice in a fine seive or colander. Rinse with cold water. Place rice in boiling water and cook for about 4 minutes, or until mostly cooked. When you taste the rice, it should still have a little crunch to it. Strain rice and set aside.

After the sauce and chicken is done simmering, remove chicken pieces to a plate. Turn heat back up to medium-high and bring sauce to a lively simmer. Add cumin, cardamom, black pepper and Kitchen Bouquet.

(this is what Kitchen Bouquet looks like, if you were curious)
Stir sauce and let it thicken for about a minute or two.

Once sauce is thick remove from heat and pour rice into the sauce. Stir and coat the rice with the sauce.

Nestle chicken pieces atop the rice. Cover and place in the oven. Cook at 500* for 20 minutes, then lower the heat to 250* and cook for an additional 15 minutes.

To serve, spoon rice onto a plate or bowl and shred some chicken and place it on top of the rice. Serve along with a dollop of yogurt.


1 Comment

Filed under Recipes

Chicken Catch-My-Tory

Jon was starving tonight.

Crazy starving.

First thing’s first! Take those chicken thighs from Costco out of the freezer to defrost!
While waiting, poor yourself a fancy looking bubbly water in a wine glass. Add a lemon and feel totally sophisticated.

Ah, yes. Enjoy that bubbly water. Mmmm delicious bubbly water….


8 chicken thighs
2 Tbs butter
4 Tbs olive oil
salt and pepper
1 cup flour
2 bell peppers (cut into strips)
5 cloves of garlic (chopped)
1 large onion (cut into strips)
1 carton of chopped mushrooms
1 cup of dry white wine
1 (28oz) can whole tomatoes
1 Tbs tumeric
1 Tbs dried thyme
handful of parsley

Pre heat your oven to 375 degrees.

Lay out your chicken on a large surface and season with salt and pepa. Season REAL good. Get it? Salt and pepa…
Okay, I’m old.

Get out your dutch oven and place on the stove over medium high heat. Add olive oil and butter until butter is melted.

Lightly dredge the chicken in flour and place skin side down in the hot pot. Only do 4 chicken thighs at a time so you don’t over crowd the pot. Do it in 2 batches.

Brown the chicken on both sides and set it on a plate once browned.
Discard half of the oil in the pan. Add onions, bell peppers, and garlic. Cook for one minute, and then add the chopped mushrooms.

Cook for another minute. Season with tumeric and thyme. Add your cup of white wine. Take a swig straight out of the bottle and put the rest back in the fridge. Yes, that last step is necessary.
Now add your can of tomatoes. I used whole ones that I squished up with my hands before I added it to the pot, but that’s just because I love Trader Joe’s whole canned romas. Feel free to buy pre-chopped tomatoes.

Give it a little stir and bring to a boil. Place the chicken back in the pot, so that they aren’t fully submerged in the liquid, with the skin side up.

Put the lid on it, and place in the oven for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, remove the lid and cook for 15 more minutes.

Once it’s done baking, remove from oven.

Remove the chicken, and set aside.

Remove the veggies, and set aside.

See this broth that’s left behind? Put this over medium high heat for about 5 minutes until it has reduced a bit. It’s going to make an awesome sauce.

Cook up any kind of noodles you like. I chose egg noodles because they are incredibly cheap and we alway seem to have a never ending supply in our pantry. Put some chicken and veggies on top of your chosen pasta. Top with sauce, some chopped parsley and a little bit of parmesean.

Oh. My. God.
So good.
Don’t worry. I didn’t eat all of this. I got a little carried away when I was plating it up. Jon called it “Olive Garden portions”.

Thank you Pioneer Woman for creating such a wonderfully easy and equally tasty recipe. Don’t know who the Pioneer Woman is? I suggest you check it out ASAP.
The Pioneer Woman

Leave a comment

Filed under Recipes