Nutty Chicken Pilaf

Nutty Chicken Pilaf

Can you say yummo? This recipe comes from the Nigella Lawson book Forever Summer(p143 under the title Saffron-Scented Chicken Pilaf). Nigella does not include the eschalots or peas but adds some chopped parsely at the end.
This book is chock full of delightful foods all fit for entertaining a small party or certain to have leftovers after feeding a family of four. I am going to provide the recipe as I made it but if you only want to make it for two or three people it is incredibly easy to just use one chicken breast and reduce the other ingredients.

Nutty Chicken Pilaf
3 chicken breast (about 750g) cut into thumb size pieces
couple of tablespoons Greek yoghurt (enough to coat the chicken)
juice of a lemon
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
1L chicken stock
15g butter
3 tablespoons canola or peanut oil
600g basmati rice
5-6 cardamom pods, bruised
juice and zest of a second lemon

4 eschalots, chopped
1 cup or so peas

50g cashews
50g flaked almonds
25g pine nuts
4 tablespoons shelled pistachios

Place the diced chicken in a suitable sized container with the yoghurt, cinnamon and lemon juice. Give the mixture a good stir to ensure the chicken is covered and leave for 1hr to marinate. Meanwhile soak the saffron threads in the chicken stock (this is done to ensure that the dried saffron threads release all their flavour and colour).

In a hot pan, add 1 tablespoon of oil and in batches cook the marinated chicken after shaking off any excess yoghurt. As this is cooking you may need to add a second tablespoon of oil for later batches.

When you have the first batch of chicken cooking, start the rice cooking.
In a large pan over medium heat, melt the butter and 1 tablespoon of the oil; add the rice, stirring it till it is nice and glossy. Pour in the chicken stock and saffron mixture; add the cardamom, lemon juice and zest. Place lid on pan, turn down to a low heat and leave for 10-15mins or so. After about 8 minutes or so add the peas and eschalots give it a stir and put the lid back on to leave it cooking.

When the rice is cooked, remove from the heat and stir through the cooked chicken.
Toss the cashews, almonds and pine nuts in an oil free pan over a medium heat until they colour and start to release their scent. Then stir them through the pilaf and top each plate with some pistachios.

Serves 7-8

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