In Turkey, you would most likely have this pilaf for dinner, but nothing should stop you from eating it for lunch! You put the pilaf on a serving tray and pile the chicken on top.
1 medium free-range, organic, well-loved chicken
1 tablespoon sea salt, plus extra for seasoning
60 ml (¼ cup) olive oil
1 tablespoon pine nuts
1 onion, peeled and grated
400 g (2 cups) medium grain white rice
rocket (arugula) leaves, to garnish
1. Put the chicken in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Add the 1 tablespoon of salt and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to medium, leave the lid off and poach the chicken for 30–40 minutes, or until it is cooked through; the juices should run clear when tested with a skewer through the thickest part of the thigh. Remove the chicken from the pan and put it to one side; reserve the chicken stock.
2. In another saucepan, heat the olive oil over a medium heat. Add the pine nuts and fry for a few minutes until golden, tossing the pan so they don’t burn. Then add the onion and rice and fry together for a few minutes.
3. Pour in enough of the reserved chicken stock to just cover the rice.
4. Season with extra salt and reduce the heat to low. Put the lid on and cook for about 20 minutes, until all the liquid is absorbed. Turn the heat off and let the pilaf rest with the lid on for 30 minutes before serving.
5. There are a couple of different ways I like to serve this dish. One is to cut the chicken into pieces and place it on top of the rice, just before you take it from the heat; sprinkle with a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper and replace the lid. Another way is to cut the chicken into pieces, pan-fry them in a little olive oil until golden, then serve with the pilaf on the side. Or you could remove the skin and bones from the poached chicken, shred the chicken and toss it through the pilaf.
Whichever way you choose, some rocket leaves make a pretty garnish.
Recipe from Turkish Fire by Sevtap Yuce, available now from Hardie Grant.