Pilau or Pilaf of Chicken
What makes this dish special is the saffron. Bacon is always a bonus and because I had very thinly sliced pancetta in the fridge, the combination of it with the rice was light and perfect. So if you can get some very fine pancetta or something similar, it is worth the texture difference. Streaky bacon would be a close second.
In the words of Granny Dot:
‘1 chicken, 1 quart of water; 1 breakfastcupful of rice; butter; salt; a pinch of saffron; 1 onion; bacon; 1 hard-boiled egg.
Truss the chicken as for boiling, put it in a pan with the water and salt and let it simmer for 1 hour. Wash the rice and fry it a light brown in butter, and add to the chicken. Add a pinch of saffron and let the whole stew for 30 minutes. Have ready the bacon, rolled and fried, the fried onion and hte sliced hard-boiled egg. Remove the chicken and carve it into neat joints. Drain the rice and make very hot. Place a layer of rice on a hot dish, cover it with the chicken and then pile on the remainder of the rice. Garnish with the onion, bacon and egg.
1oz. of almonds, blanched, shredded and fried, and 1 oz. of stoned raisins, fried, may be sprinkled over the dish to its great advantage.’
1.1 litres of water
1 cup/8.8oz/250g rice
a pinch of saffron
1 hard-boiled egg
A handful of sliced almonds, lightly toasted in a dry pan.
A handful of raisins.
1. Place the chicken in casserole dish in which it will fit snuggly.
2. Cover it with the water. If the chicken is not fully covered, turn it over half way through cooking, or add more water as you will be draining in the end anyway.
3. Bring to the simmer for 1 hour.
4. Lightly brown the almonds in a hot dry pan. Remove.
5. Fry the bacon so that it is a little crisp. If you do use pancetta, it takes seconds and you will need a little oil in which to fry it. With bacon, you may not need any oil if you are using a non stick pan. If you are not, just glisten the base of the pan with oil.
6. Remove the bacon/pancetta and fry the onion in the leftover fat in the pan, adding a little butter if necessary. Add the raisins in the last couple of minutes of frying.
7. Set the onion and bacon aside.
8. Put a clean egg (we have chickens and that is why I say that as sometimes the eggs need a clean) in with the chicken and let it simmer for 7 minutes. Remove and shell the egg.
9. Add a knob of butter to the pan and sizzle the rice in the butter until lightly browned. 10. Now when the hour is up, add the rice and a pinch of saffron to the casserole dish with the chicken.
11. Continue to simmer and check the rice after 15 minutes and keep simmering until it is tender and cooked.
12. Now remove the chicken from the casserole and put it on a board to rest while you drain the rice. Save the liquid for stock. It will be a lovely saffron liquor. I put it in the fridge to cool and removed the fat the next morning.
13. Take a serving dish, pile up the rice, sprinkle it with onion, raisins, bacon and egg which you have prepared.
14. Segment the chicken and lay pieces on top of the rice.
15. Take the almonds and a few more raisins and sprinkle them on top of the chicken.
16. The rice is moist and tender, as is the chicken, and there is loads of flavour with the combination of additions. Serving it with buttered sprouting brocoli is a good addition.