I grew up eating this dish at least once a week, it’s a meal so familiar, the smell of warm allspice brings me back. Steaming, fragrant rice and dollops of cool, tart yogurt, flavorful roast chicken, crispy, toasted pine nuts, almonds. Watching mom shred the chicken, layering the casserole dish, some of my favorite memories.
Like most of the recipes from my childhood, this one is a combination of squinty memory recall (both mine and my mom’s), and a little bit of trial and error – to get the flavors just right.
It’s a bit time intensive, but it’s so worth it.
To start, you’ll need chicken stock. Homemade is always best, but store-bought stock will work as well. The better flavor your stock, the more awesome the final dish will be.
Cook 2 cups uncooked rice using your preferred method (pot or rice cooker), but sub out the water completely with chicken stock. Stir in 2 tsp of spice mix (below) and 1 tsp salt.
Stir together spices in a small bowl, set aside. You’ll use this for both the chicken and the rice.
2 tsp allspice
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
1 tsp crushed parsley
Wash 1 pound of chicken thighs, bone-on, skin on, and pat dry. Loosen skin and sprinkle spice mix generously all over the chicken, including below and above the skin.
Preheat oven to 425°F
Heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat and add enough olive oil to just coat pan.
When oil is hot, add chicken in a single layer, being careful to not overcrowd the pan. Cook each side for 5 minutes or until skin begins to brown and crisp. Flip chicken again and put skillet in the oven. Flip chicken every 6-8 minutes and cook until chicken juices run clear, about 25 minutes.
Remove pan from oven and using tongs, shred chicken. Give the chicken a quick stir and put the skillet back in the oven for another 5 minutes. You can skip this last step if you’re watching your waistline, but it seriously kicks this whole dish up another notch.
Toasted Pine Nuts (do this step while the chicken’s in the oven)
In a non-stick skillet, heat 1 tbs olive oil or butter on medium-low. Add 3/4 cup pine nuts or almond silvers (more or less if you dig toasted nuts) and 1 tsp coarse salt. Toast nuts, stirring often, until nuts begin to turn golden brown. If some of the nuts are getting done more quickly, pull those out so they don’t burn. When nuts are fully toasted, remove from heat and set aside.
Plate the Chicken
Lightly fluff the rice and add more spice mix if you’d like a heartier flavor.
Spoon rice onto your serving dish, preparing a thick bed for the chicken. Cover the rice with a layer of shredded chicken, then add nuts and remaining chicken.
Serve hot with a side of plain or honey Nancy’s yogurt.