the key to making a decent chicken pilaf is having really good quality chicken and chicken stock. if you skimp on these then there is a high likelihood that the dish will be bland and not worth the effort. this dish was made using leftover meat from a roast chicken plus the stock that i had made from that chicken’s carcass.
making chicken stock whenever you have a roast is incredibly worthwhile and easy. i also ways strip the majority of the meat off the carcass, then put the bones into a large pan, cover with water, add a peeled and halved onion, a peeled carrot, a bay leaf and some peppercorns. if i have fresh parsley in then i’ll add that as well (you can just use the stems and keep the leaves for something where they will be part of the end dish). bring to the boil and then let it simmer (i cover it so there isn’t too much steam gathering in the kitchen) for an hour or two. when it’s ready, drain and strip any final tiny bits of meat off the carcass.
this dish has subtle flavours which, i think, really let the chicken shine through. we ate it with salad as a summery supper, sitting in the garden, but it was as nice the following day, eaten at room temperature as a packed lunch.
chicken and almond pilaf (serves 2-3)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
250g basmati rice
500ml good quality chicken stock
large pinch of saffron
zest and juice of 1 lemon
c250g cooked chicken, torn into bite size pieces and at room temperature
1 handful chopped parsley
2 tablespoons toasted almond flakes
salt & pepper
heat the butter and oil over a medium heat, until the butter melts. add the rice and stir so it looks glossy. add the stock and bring to the boil. add the saffron and lemon juice, cover with a lid, turn the heat to low and leave to cook until almost all the liquid is absorbed (10-15 minutes).
when the rice is almost cooked, add the chicken. when the rice is ready and the chicken has warmed through, stir in the lemon zest, parsley and toasted almonds. season to taste.