How disappointing is it to, having been too busy to prepare lunch ahead of time, buy a sad salad encased in a plastic shell, studded with rubbery, uniformly square chicken bits, and doused in dressing with an ingredient list that covers the entire packet, and then to think about all of the other things (matinee movie ticket, low-end lipstick, one of those really expensive chocolate bars, and so on) that that $10 could have bought you? (Both a run-on sentence and a rhetorical question.) Now imagine that your coworker is the one eating the fast-food bistro salad, while you smugly emerge from the break room (do those actually exist?) with your Pyrex container full of leftover pilaf wafting its savory, herby scent right into their envy receptors. How would that make you feel? I know, terrible, because you harbor nothing but good will toward all of your coworkers—obviously.
Nevertheless, here’s the recipe, in case you ever find yourself wanting it.
Chicken Pilaf with Pistachios & Dill
- 1 small chicken (about 3.5 lbs), cut into serving pieces* and generously salted, the back reserved for another use (like making chicken stock)
- 2 medium onions, halved and thinly sliced into half moons
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 2/3 cup finely chopped fresh dill
- 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh mint
- green portions of 3 scallions, chopped
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 cups basmati rice
- 3 cups water
- 1/3 cup pistachios, toasted
- 1/4 cup almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped
- 2 Tbsp pine nuts, toasted
- 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- In a large Dutch oven or heavy skillet, melt the butter with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Sautée the sliced onions over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until very brown and caramelized, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove onions from the pan and set aside.
- In the same Dutch oven or skillet, heat the remaining two tablespoons olive oil and add the chicken pieces. Cook 8 to 10 minutes (until nicely browned) without disturbing, then flip each piece and cook another 8 to 10 minutes on the other side. Flip the chicken once more, add the rice and water to the pan, and stir. Cook over high heat until water begins to boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer without lifting the lid for 17 minutes.
- Remove pan from heat and let rest, without removing lid, for another 10 minutes. Place chicken pieces on a serving plate. Add the herbs, scallions, cinnamon, nuts, and lemon juice to the pan with the rice, stir, then add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with the chicken.
*Note: I like to keep the skin on the chicken and then remove it once the rice is cooked—keeping the skin on helps keep the meat from drying out—but you can remove the skin before cooking the chicken if you like.