Lebanese Chicken Rice Pilaf, Hushweh

Servings: 6
Recipe by: Maureen Abood

The chicken can be made in a number of ways—roasted, poached, baked pieces. A store-bought roasted chicken also saves the day when necessary. Chicken broth can be poured off from the roasted chicken (spoon off excess fat), or the broth from a poaching chicken can be used. Or, you can use the chicken stock you’ve made and keep on hand in your freezer. If that is a hilarious thought, purchased chicken broth is your friend. Hushweh is excellent served with a romaine salad dressed with lemon vinaigrette, thin pita bread, and labne.

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Ingredients

For the chicken:

  • 3 to 4 pound chicken
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
  • Paprika
  • Granulated Garlic Powder
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper

For the hushweh:

  • 1 pound ground beef or lamb
  • 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup long grain white rice
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup pine nuts or slivered almonds, toasted

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

  2. Pat the chicken dry. Place it in a large roasting pan with ½ cup of water surrounding the chicken. Stuff the onion in the cavity. Rub a couple of tablespoons of oil over the skin to coat and season lightly with paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper.

  3. Roast the chicken until it the juices run clear when the chicken is pierced, and the meat reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 1 hour. Meanwhile, baste the chicken every 15 minutes.

  4. To toast the nuts, in a small skillet over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of butter. Add the nuts and cook, stirring constantly, until golden brown. Remove from the heat. Salt lightly. Try not to eat all of the nuts now—you’ve made them for the hushweh.

  5. While the chicken is roasting, make the hushweh: In a large dutch oven or sauté pan over medium heat, cook the ground beef, using a wooden spoon to crumble it, until no trace of pink remains.

  6. Season the beef with cinnamon, salt and pepper to taste and stir to combine. Add the rice and 2 tablespoons butter and cook, still over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the butter melts and the rice kernels are completely coated. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Do not stir while cooking.

  7. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and set aside until cool enough to handle. Remove and discard the skin. Shred the chicken into bite-size pieces.

  8. Add the chicken, 1/2 cup of the toasted nuts, remaining 5 tablespoons butter (or more, if you prefer) and plenty of salt and pepper to the hot rice mixture and stir to combine. Sprinkle with the remaining nuts and serve immediately.