Chicken and green rice pie by Nava
I have been wanting to make a festive and pretty-looking dish for a while now, and with pesach (Passover) around the corner, I decided that it was the perfect time.
Being Sephardic Jews, we are allowed to eat rice on pesach, so this is the dish I will be bringing to dinner when we all gather together to celebrate. When I made it for the first time on Thursday, the chicken was devoured as soon as I stepped out of the kitchen. I didn’t even get a chance to cook the rice. While I was unimpressed with the fam, (or the plague of locusts as they’re sometimes called) for eating my chicken because I had shopped and put time aside to make and photograph my festive dish, I was chuffed that everyone found it irresistible.
But I still had to make another one, so I decided I may as well make it for Friday-night dinner to take to my sister’s house. When the pie was ready to be photographed, I was very proud of it. I won’t deny that this pie is a LABOUR OF LOVE and I can only tell you that it’s worth it! This has to be the most flavoursome dish you’ll ever make, every mouthful is beyond tasty and if you don’t believe me, just ask my teenager nephew who said : “Man Nava this chicken and rice thing is Mad, it’s like sick as, it’s just mental.” Yes, we have a budding Shakespeare in the family.
Please note: I decorated my pie with potatoes, a handful of pistachio nuts and a handful of pomegranate seeds. You can decorate with whatever you like and you can leave the potatoes out altogether, it’s up to you.
Chicken, and green rice pie
For chicken and onions
¼ cup oil
6 large onions, sliced (yes, you read right: six!)
1.2kg chicken thigh fillets
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon all spice
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon mixed spice
Salt and pepper to taste
1 bunch coriander, finely chopped
1 bunch continental parsley, finely chopped
1 tablespoon dill, finely chopped
2 cups basmati rice
3 cups of hot water
1 tablespoon oil
Salt and pepper
3 big round potatoes, sliced
Chicken and onion
Fry onions on medium -high heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally
Lower heat to medium and continue to stir occasionally for another 15 minutes
Add the chicken pieces and let it cook for another 10 minutes, then turn down the heat to low.
Add all of the spices, salt and pepper to the pan and stir to coat the chicken and onions.
Cook for another 15-20 minutes or until chicken is almost cooked through.
Place oil, rice, herbs, salt and pepper in a large pot and give it a good stir to combine and coat the rice.
Pour 3 cups of hot water, cover with lid and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to very low and let simmer until rice is cooked through: approximately 15-20 min.
Pre-heat the oven to 200C
Place potatoes on a baking tray lined with baking paper
Spray sliced potatoes with oil, sprinkle salt, place on the tray and roast until cooked through
Pre-heat oven to 200C
Line a 25cm spring form tin cake with baking paper the sides too. and brush liberally with oil.
Place ¼ of the cooked rice at the bottom of the cake tin and press down.
Remove chicken from the pan, leaving the onions and sauce in the pan.
Scoop a ¼ of the onions and scatter on top of the rice that you have just pressed into the cake tin.
Cut the cooked chicken into small squares and throw into the rice pot, add the remaining onions and stir to make sure everything is mixed thoroughly.
Spoon the rice and chicken mixture into the cake tin and press down so it’s nice and compact.
Brush/spray the top of rice with a little bit of oil, sprinkle 2 tablespoons of water all over rice (to make sure it stays moist) arrange potatoes on top cover with aluminiumnfoil and put the pie in the oven and cook for 15 minutes
Take out of the oven, decorate the centre with pomegranate seeds and pistachio nuts.
Let it cool for a little bit before removing the ring but leave the pie on the baking paper which is still on the cake tin.
When I cut it, it didn’t fall to pieces, and it mostly held its shape. When you try to pick up a slice though, it does crumble. Still it looks great until people attack it, and the assault is usually over in seconds. After which, everyone is tucking in making appreciative noises, while all that’s left of your masterpiece on the serving plate is a pile of nostalgic crumbs.