Chicken and orange pilaf
Ready to enjoy a recipe full of exquisite flavors? We bring you an irresistible chicken and orange pilaf , a perfect combination that will captivate your palate. In this dish, juicy pieces of chicken intertwine with the refreshing citrus touch of orange, creating an explosion of flavors in every bite.
This delicious preparation is enhanced thanks to the wonderful Le Creuset low iron cocotte, which offers natural, even cooking and keeps the ingredients juicy and full of flavor. You will see how you turn rice into a culinary feast in which aromas and texture blend in perfect harmony. Put on your apron because I would love to have you join me on this culinary adventure today!
What is a pilaf?
Pilaf, also known as pilav, is a rice dish originating in the Middle East and Central Asia . It is a preparation in which the rice grains are cooked in a flavored broth , generally with spices and other ingredients, such as meat, vegetables and nuts.
The basic process for making a pilaf involves browning the rice in oil or butter before adding the broth and other ingredients. As the rice cooks, it absorbs the flavors of the broth and additional ingredients, creating a flavorful and aromatic blend. The end result is a loose rice, with each grain separated and full of flavor.
Pilaf is found in various cultures and each region has its unique variant. It can be vegetarian or include meats such as chicken, lamb or beef. In addition, vegetables such as onion, carrot, peas or peppers can be added, as well as spices such as cumin, cinnamon, saffron or cardamom, to enhance the flavors.
Served as a side or even as a main dish, this versatile and comforting dish is prized for its simplicity and richness of flavors. Pilaf is a delicious option for any meal, whether on special occasions or to enjoy at the daily table.
- 1 ½ cups long grain basmati rice
- 500-600g boneless, skinless chicken (preferably thigh, which is tastier, otherwise you can use boneless chicken breast)
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil
- 30g butter
- 1 large onion
- 1 medium carrot
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2 anise stars
- 3 stalks of thyme
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp turmeric
- ½ tsp smoked paprika
- A pinch of dried chili flakes
- 3 garlic cloves
- ½ cup of orange juice (two oranges)
- 3 tablespoons of orange marmalade
- 600 ml of chicken broth
- zest of an orange
- A few sprigs of parsley (to decorate)
- Chopped toasted almonds or pistachios (optional)
- Put the basmati rice to soak in a large bowl with cold water. Leave for 30 minutes and then rinse well through a strainer under cold running water until the water runs clear and all the starch has been removed.
- While the rice is soaking, prepare the ingredients:
- Cut the chicken into large, bite-sized cubes. Salt-pepper it.
- Chop the onion, so that it is fine
- grate the carrot
- Squeeze a couple of oranges, until you have half a glass approx., and grate one of the oranges. Reserve the juice and reserve the zest separately.
- Preheat oven to 160°C, heat up and down.
- Place the Evolution Le Creuset Cocotte Low Casserole on low-medium heat and add 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Add and sauté the chicken pieces until golden brown. Remove from the cocotte and reserve them.
- In the same cocotte, without removing the previous remains of oil, add the butter and melt it over low heat. Add the onion and cook about 3 minutes, and add the carrot, cinnamon, star anise, and 3 sprigs of thyme, and cook until the onion begins to turn translucent. Cover the saucepan and let it soften and flavor the carrot with the moisture and heat that are retained.
- When the onions have softened, add the rest of the spices and the crushed garlic (use a garlic press to ensure all of its aromas are extracted) and cook for a minute or two, stirring to even out the aromas and the garlic to cook.
- Add the half cup of orange juice, to deglaze* the cocotte, scraping up any remains that have remained on the bottom. Add the orange marmalade and cook over medium heat until almost all the liquid has evaporated.
- Add the chicken that you had reserved, stir.
- At this point, add the rinsed and drained rice and stir to evenly distribute all the contents. Let cook for a minute and add the chicken broth (previously heated in the microwave or in a saucepan), and add the orange zest. Increase heat to medium/high and bring to a boil, and cook for 2 minutes after it starts to boil (without lid).
- After those minutes, put the lid on and put the low Le Creuset Cocotte in the oven and let it cook for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes.
- Separate the pilaf with a fork and remove the cinnamon, star anise pods and thyme sprigs and sprinkle the chopped parsley over the pilaf to garnish. Serve the pilaf hot.
- If there is still liquid in the cocotte when you remove it from the oven, return it to the oven, covered on top (so it does not dry out), and leave until the liquid evaporates.
- When serving, you can add some chopped nuts on top, such as cashews, almonds or pistachios (optional).
- * Deglazing is the process of dissolving and collecting the caramelized juices and residue that forms in the bottom of a skillet or saucepan when cooking food. Liquid is added to the hot bottom to loosen and blend the caramelized flavors, creating a flavorful base for sauces or other dishes.