Monday, May 14, 2012

Turkish Rice with Chicken, Almonds & Saffron

We quite enjoyed this dish.  I checked out this Turkish cookbook from the library and loved looking through it.  This was the first dish I tried.  I tired a salad from the same cookbook a few days ago and LOVED it- I will post it on another day. 

This dish came together fairly easily, and was delicious.  I used white basmati rice, and it was tender and flavorful.  I just sauteed the almonds in a bit of oil; the original recipe calls for frying them in a 1/3 cup of oil, but I decided not to do that.  They were still delicious.  My saffron is probably too old, because it didn't turn the whole dish yellow, but it still lent some flavor to the rice.  I will have to make this again sometime with new saffron! 
I packed the rice/chicken/almonds into a very large pie dish and then inverted it.  It worked out wondefully!  Just use whatever you have on hand.  10-inch to 11-inch will work.  Like any recipe, make sure you read the directions all the way through before starting.  :)
Turkish Rice with Chicken, Almonds & Saffron
adapted from the The Turkish Cookbook

2 chicken breasts or 4-5 chicken tenders (about a pound),  cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Sea salt
Freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons plus 1 tablespoon canola oil, divided
1/2 cup blanched whole almonds
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups extra-long grain white rice, soaked in warm, lightly salted water for 20 minutes
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads, soaked in 1/3 cup warm water
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill, optional

1.  Season chicken cubes with salt and pepper to taste. In a medium skillet heat the 2 tablespoons of oil, and sauté the chicken cubes on all sides until golden brown.  Remove from pan and set aside.  (They will cook more later). 

2.  In a small skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil, add the blanched almonds and stir-fry for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until light brown or pink. Remove nuts with a slotted spoon and drain well on a double layer of paper towel to remove all excess oil.

3.  Drain the rice. In a large, non-stick skillet, heat the butter and sauté the rice for a few minutes, stir in the soaked saffron with the soaking water and the chicken broth. Mix well, season with salt and pepper to taste.

4.  Add the cooked chicken cubes and bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat to medium low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed and holes appear on the surface.
Remove from heat, place a double layer of paper towel over the rice, and cover the pan. Let stand for 10 minutes, then mix well.

5.  Arrange nuts on the bottom of a 12-inch round shallow dish, then spoon the rice over the nuts, pressing down gently with the back of a wooden spoon. Turn upside down on a round serving platter for serving. Sprinkle with fresh dill, if desired, and serve as a main course.

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Feyza S. said...

Looks delicious!
I am Turkish. As Turkish people, we love to eat rice.
For this recipe, you used basmati rice, but in Turkey, we don't tend to use basmati. İnstead, we use local types of white rice grown here.
I hope you will come to Turkey and eat the local ones we cook :)
By the way, I would like to advise one of the Turkish rice recipes on my blog:

What A Dish! said...

Fezya, I would love to use real Turkish rice! The only kind of white rice I had on hand was basmati. :) We would love to travel to Turkey one day. Your rice dish looks delicious!

Feyza S. said...

Aren't there any Turkish restaurants or supermarkets in your vicinity? Maybe you can ask their owners for Turkish rice.

We'd love to welcome you to Turkey :) There are lots of meals you should definitely taste.

I'm happy you liked my recipe :)

What A Dish! said...

I live on a tiny island in the middle of the ocean, lol! It's so small and isolated. I can definitely say there are no Turkish restaurants or grocery stores here, sadly. I would have to buy it online.

Looking forward to trying more Turkish recipes before I turn that library book back in!