Middle-Eastern Rice Dish

I don’t really know how accurate the name is, but it was how this quick and easy rice dish was described to me. Though to be honest, it’s such a simple meal to make that it was necessary for me to double check my posts. What a surprise that I never managed to share the details of this yummy and easy dish. In its essence it is a sweet, yet savory rice dish. A lighter fare that tastes as good warm as it does cold (perhaps even better cold, but that’s just my preference). When you take a bite the delicate sweetness and cinnamon is balanced by a dusting of cumin and the slightly sweet chicken. This dish can be made to accommodate 1 person or 30 (potentially more, but that’s the top number I’ve  cooked it for). So what is it? Well check out the recipe to find out more.

I feel that my descriptions lately have been lacking, so forgive me that there is no long drawn out adventure of making this. The worst trial I’ve ever had with this dish was when I first went to Utah. the higher altitude and drier air confounded my limited rice making ability: the water was already evaporated and gone before the rice was fully cooked. So of course I added more water only to result in a starchy rice mush. That still kinda tasted yummy. desperation and lack of time were the only reasons I dare to serve it to company that day. Thankfully, that experience has never been repeated.

Serving recommendations: This dish goes well with a salad: spring greens, almonds (or walnuts), some red berry (raspberries, strawberries or craisins) and a raspberry vinegrette. You can also mix into the salad mandarin orange slices (from a can) and use the juice to cook the chicken in.

Ingredients

Note: the ingredients are not measured, the amount will decide on the size of the pot, and the number of people you would like to serve. In brackets I will include estimates for a 3 qt size pot that will serve about 4-6 people *depending on how hungry they are)

  • [3/4– 1 cup] raisins: This most recent occasion I didn’t have enough, so I had a mix of golden raisin and craisins and it turned out well.
  • [1/2 cup] walnuts: I’ve also used pecans, or again, most recently a mix of almonds and cashews. While the substitution was acceptable I highly recommend using walnuts.
  • [2–3 tbsps] cinnamon: That measurement is completely out of thin air. The directions will give a better idea of how much you need.
  • [2 tsps] cumin: Again, see above
  • rice and water: There should be a 1:2 ratio of rice to water. [1 1/2 cup rice, 3 cup water– you can have as much as 2 cup rice 4 cup water if you desire]
  • frozen chicken breast: Yes, you don’t even need to thaw it. I use 1 large breast for 2 people give or take. It is all your personal meat quantity preference
  • juice: I’ve used juice from canned fruit, cranberry juice, orange juice, etc. It all works great. You won’t likely need more than 2 cups (if even that).

Directions

  1. Spread a layer of raisins in the bottom of your pot.
  2. Sprinkle a layer of walnuts over top.
  3. Sprinkle a generous layer of cinnamon over top. It should be a light distinguishable dusting of brown over walnuts and raisins.
  4. Lightly sprinkle cumin over it all.
  5. Add rice and water at a 1:2 ratio (or whatever the appropriate amount of rice and water ration is for your particular rice).
  6. Cook like you would cook rice normally: bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to a simmer for about 20-30 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, in a frying pan with high sides (preferably), place the frozen chicken breasts. Pour sufficient juice to mostly cover the chicken.
  8. Cook the chicken over medium heat. It will cook faster if you cover it, but be aware of boiling over. If at any point the chicken is not fully cooked but the juice as cooked away, add more.
  9. When the chicken is entirely cooked through or almost entirely cooked through, use two forks to shred it. Continue cooking in the juice. If you  have a lot of juice remaining you can drain it or continue cooking until it evaporates.
  10. When the rice and chicken is done, mix together.  Serve either hot, warm, or chilled. Enjoy!
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