Riz A Djej (Rice with Chicken)

Riz A Djej (Rice with Chicken)

Serves 6-8

This is a traditional and very popular Lebanese dish and my absolute favourite. There are so many different ways you can eat this – with yoghurt, garlic dip (mine, of course) or with salad. This dish is perfect for large gatherings which are frequent in my Lebanese household. Can be made in advance and everything is placed in the middle of the table – each person helps themselves. Great with tabbouleh as well.

INGREDIENTS

Chicken & Broth

2 whole chickens (we use Turk’s corn fed free range chicken size 14 or 16)
1 cinnamon stick
1 white onion (peeled)
2 bay leaves
1 medium carrot, peeled (whole with top and tail removed)
5 peeled cloves of garlic
2 teaspoons salt (add to taste)
½ teaspoon all spice
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
water

Rice & Mince

300gr Lean beef mince meat
Salt (to taste)
Black pepper (to taste)
White Pepper (to taste)
½ teaspoon all spice
Ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons canola Oil
2 cups Uncle Ben’s long grain rice (you can use other rice but we prefer Uncle Ben’s as it doesn’t stick)

Garnish

½ cup Peeled unsalted almonds
½ cup Unsalted cashews

Method

  1. In a pot add chicken and cover with water. Bring to a boil and remove the froth layer.
  2. Add a cinnamon stick, a peeled onion, bay leaves, carrot, garlic, 2 teaspoons of salt, ½ teaspoon all spice, ½ teaspoon black pepper and ½ a teaspoon of cinnamon. Let simmer for 30 to 40 minutes to allow the chicken to cook.
  3. While chicken is cooking, soak the rice in water for 15 mins;
  4. Once chicken is cooked, move the chicken to a plate. Remove the cinnamon stick, onion, bay leaves, carrot and garlic. Save broth and put it aside. (taste the juice while cooking to see if more spices or salt are needed)
  5. In a separate pot, add 2 tablespoons of canola oil. Once the oil is heated add beef mince, a teaspoon of salt, a dash of pepper, ½ teaspoon of allspice, and a dash of cinnamon. Sauté until the meat is no longer red (keep the mixture juicy)
  6. Wash the rice, Add rice to mince mixture and toss a few times
  7. Add 4 cups of broth and bring it to a boil.
  8. Simmer and cover for 15-20 minutes or until the broth is gone
  9. *Optional* Toast some nuts of your choice with canola oil till golden and put on top of your cooked rice (shaved almonds, walnuts, pine nuts, etc.)

SERVE

When rice is ready put into plate. Remove chicken from stock, pull it apart and place on top of the rice. Garnish with nuts.