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carol's lebanese chicken: riz d'jej


Our friend Carol cooked this dish for us on our Montana trip and we all loved it so much I had to have the recipe. The recipe involves a few steps but it is a perfect thing to make on a weekend. Different types of rice need varying amounts of liquid and cooking time so it is best to double check the package directions and compare them to this recipe before you start. Carol and I used short grain brown rice, which requires a 2:1 ratio of broth to rice, and cooks for 50 minutes.



for the chicken and broth:

1 whole chicken

1 onion, quartered

3 carrots, cut into 2 inch peices

3 stalks celery, cut into 2 inch pieces

1 bay leaf

1 whole cinnamon stick


For the rice:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, peeled thinly sliced

1 tablespoon allspice

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

2 cups short grained brown rice

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

4 cups chicken broth (reserved from cooking the chicken)


For the garnish:

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 onions, peeled and thinly sliced

1 teaspoon butter

1/2 cup blanched whole almonds


For the gravy

3 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons flour

1/2 cup white wine

2 cups chicken broth (reserved from cooking the chicken)


Place the chicken, onion, carrots, celery, bay leaf and cinnamon in large pot and cover with water by 2-3 inches (about 8-10 cups). Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a gentle simmer and cook for about an hour and 15 minutes, or until chicken is cooked and starting to fall off the bone. Remove chicken from broth and set aside. Strain broth and set aside for use in rice and gravy. 


Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large saucepot and saute onions over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until jsut starting to carmelize around the edges. Add allspice and cook one minute more. Add chickpeas, stirring to coat, and cook another minute. Add rice and stir to coat with seasoning. Add salt and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover with a tight fitting lid and cook for 50 minutes. If rice is finished before you finish the rest of the dish just turn off the heat and keep covered until ready to serve. 


In the meanwhile, prepare the garnish. Cook remaining 2 onions in remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until dark brown. In another skillet melt butter and brown almonds until golden, stirring frequently for even browning. 


When the rice is almost done (after about 40 minutes) start the gravy. Melt butter in a skillet and add flour. Cook until very bubbly but do not allow to brown. Slowly stir in the wine and and chicken broth and cook whisking constantly over low heat until thickened. Season with sea salt.


Fluff rice with a fork just before serving. Sppon into a shallow serving dish and top with chicken (strained from broth), onions, and almonds. Season to taste with sea salt and serve with gravy.



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