Fragrant poached chicken & spiced rice

To make the chicken rice into a banquet, serve with minted yoghurt, tabouli, hummus and some flat bread.


  • 1 small brown onion, sliced
  • 1 celery stalk, cut in pieces
  • 2 cardamon pods, crushed
  • 1 clove
  • 1 cinnamon quill
  • 1/2 tsp whole black peppercorns
  • Sea salt
  • 800g double chicken breast on the bone, skin on.

  • For the rice
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 40g butter
  • 1 small brown onion, finely diced
  • 150g lean minced lamb
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 cup long grain rice, rinsed well
  • 1/2 cup roasted pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup roasted flaked almonds
  • Handful of coriander leaves


Place onion, celery, spices and a pinch of salt into a small saucepan. Place the chicken, skin down, and fill with enough water to cover. Bring to boil then lower heat and simmer gently for 6 minutes.

Turn off heat and leave the chicken for 20 minutes in hot liquid. Remove and when cooled, shred chicken into large bite-sized pieces. Discard skin and bones. Strain stock through muslin and reserve.

To make the rice, heat oil and butter in a large saucepan and sauté onion with a tsp of salt on low heat until it softens, about 10 minutes.

Increase heat, add lamb and sauté until all juices have evaporated. Add spices and rice and stir through for a few minutes to coat the rice. Pour in 1 1/4 cups of reserved chicken stock. Bring to boil, then lower heat, cover pan and simmer gently for about 10 or 12 minutes until rice is al dente.

Serve rice and shredded chicken garnished with roasted nuts and coriander.

NOTES: First published in the Good Weekend.

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