I will admit that other than the chicken being grown within 100 miles of my house, there is nothing particularly local about my making this dish at this time of year. Although the chicken is local, the star of this meal is the carrots. They add a good bit of sweetness, so make sure you add in enough salt when seasoning.
It is a pilaf, mixing together rice, chicken and carrots, served topped with tadig (the crispy crust that forms on the bottom of the pot). We served it with a caesar salad to add some green and some sharpness to the meal.
1 1/2 lbs carrots
3 ounces sugar
1 1/2 lbs basmati rice
1 very large to 2 medium onions, sliced or chopped
1 1/2 lbs boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 tsp saffron
Wash and grate the carrots. In a large skillet (there are A LOT of carrots, so think really large skillet), heat 1 Tbsp oil over medium-high heat, add the carrots and cook for 3 – 5 minutes. Dissolve the sugar in the hot water and add to the carrots. Bring to a boil, then simmer until most of the liquid is evaporated. Set aside.
Rinse the rice and the place in a large pot of salted water. Heat until the water comes to a full boil, this should take about 20 minutes and the rice will be just shy of cooke through (it should still have a firm bite). Drain and rinse with cold water.
While the rice is cooking, heat 1 Tbsp of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until golden. Add the chicken, season with salt and cook until the chicken is cooked through.
Prepare the saffron (grind and then dissolve in 1 Tbsp hot water).
Add to the chicken and onions and mix thoroughly.
In a really, really big bowl, mix together the rice, chicken and carrots.
Melt 1/2 Tbsp butter and 2 Tbsp water in the bottom of the rice pot over medium heat. Add the rice mixture and press down.
Cover with a kitchen towel or padded lid and cook over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, then reduce the heat to medium low and cook for about another 40 minutes.
Remove the pilaf to a serving bowl. The bottom should have formed tadig – a nicely browned crust. Serve with a piece of tadig on top. Enjoy.
Serves 8 – 10.