Monday, September 15, 2008

CHICKEN PILAF WITH RAISINS, PINE NUTS AND ALMONDS

Ramadan fell in September of this year. Though I'm a Christian, I still like to cook a dishes associated with cultures or religions. Like art, the way a group of people prepare and eat food reveals their humanity, their preferences and pleasures. You could say that I'm eating my toward tolerance. According to the Washington Post, this is a popular meal for breaking the fast.

CHICKEN PILAF WITH RAISINS, PINE NUTS AND ALMONDS
4 to 6 servings

8 pieces chicken legs and thighs
salt
black pepper
2 Tbls. + 2 tsp. butter
1 small onion, peeled and left whoe
3 cardamon seeds
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth or water
½ tsp. allspice
1 cup white basmati rice
2 Tbls. Raisins
¼ cup pine nuts
¼ cup slivered almonds

Rinse chicken and pat dry. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. In a large pan over medium heat, heat 1 Tbls. Butter. Brown chicken, 4 minutes per side. Add the onion, cardamon seeds and enough chicken broth to cover. Cover tightly and simmer for 45 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. With a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken pieces to a serving dish and cover loosely to keep warm. Reserve the broth.

Strain 1 cup of broth through a sieve and place it in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add ¾ cup of water, 1 Tbl. Butter, allspice and salt and bring it to a boil. Rinse the rice in cold water and add to the pan. When the broth and water return to a boil reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes or until all liquid has been absorbed.

Meanwhile, place the raisins in a small bowl, add warm water to cover and let sit. In a small sauté pan over low heat, melt 2 tsp. of butter. Add the pine nuts and the almonds and stir until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer the nuts to a small bowl. Drain the plumped raisins and add them to the bowl with nuts.

When the rice is cooked, transfer it to a serving platter. Arrange the chicken pieces on top and garnish with nuts and raisins. Serve immediately.