This would have to be one of my most favourite meals. It’s a good dish when you’re having a large family gathering, which is quite often in our household. Traditionally Lebanese, you can prepare it early and is ready to serve when your guests arrive. Place it in the centre of the dinner table and allow everyone to dig in. Keep in mind that it is very moreish so you might be fighting for the last skerrick!
Note: This dish needs to be prepared the day before serving
- 1 Chicken
- 1 cup ghee (divide into ¼, ¼ and ½)
- 12 cups water
- 2 medium brown onions, finely chopped
- 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 4 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp pimento
- 600gms ground meat
- 1 cup vermicelli (3 large ball yarns)
- 2 cups jasmine rice
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 packet slivered almonds, toasted
- 1 packet pine nuts, toasted
Instructions for the day before serving:
- In a large saucepan slowly brown the chicken whole in ¼ cup of ghee turning the bird as each section is browned.
- Remove chicken and brown ½ the onion and garlic. Add 2 tsp salt.
- Transfer chicken into a large deep soup saucepan. Add the water, bay leaf and cinnamon stick. Bring to the boil. Turn to medium heat to simmer for 2 hours until chicken falls off the bone. Set aside to cool.
- Drain the stock from the chicken into a large bowl and leave in refrigerator overnight. (The fat from the ghee will form a hard crust on the surface of the stock which will be easily removed and discarded)
- Debone chicken removing skin and fat. Place clean flesh of the chicken into a bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
- Using ¼ cup of ghee lightly brown the ground meat and the remaining onion and garlic in a large saucepan. (Make sure to break up any clumps of meat). Add pimento and cook on low heat for 15 minutes. Leave in fridge overnight.
Instructions on the day of serving:
- In a medium saucepan add the remaining ½ cup of ghee, vermicelli and remaining 2 tsp salt. Lightly brown the vermicelli then add the rice. Stir frequently, making sure the mixture does not burn.
- Add prepared stock from the fridge the ground meat. Cook until liquid is absorbed and stir carefully. (The less stirring the better as the mixture can become soapy)
- Meanwhile set oven to 160 °C and warm chicken pieces for 10-15 minutes.
- Remove bay leaf and cinnamon stick. Allow everything to rest for a few minutes then carefully spread rice mixture over a large serving tray. Arrange chicken over the rice and garnish with the nuts.
Enjoy the feast! YALLAH HABIBI!