My Family's Lebanese Riz A Djej 'Chicken on Rice' Recipe

My family has been making this delicious and rich dish for generations and it's a dish we make all the time; for regular dinners and for special occasions! Riz A Djej is a chicken, beef and rice dish that's been made in Lebanon for hundreds of years and is traditionally enjoyed during big holidays like Easter and Christmas. Check out the recipe below and for more details, take a look at the YouTube video tagged at the bottom.



Ingredients:

2.5 cups Calrose (Egyptian) rice or Basmati rice

3-5 cups water

4 chicken legs, skin on, bone in

1/4 pound ground beef

1-2 cups of raw nuts (almonds, cashews, walnuts, pistachios, pine nuts)

Aromatics: 1 cinnamon bark, 5-8 green cardamom pods, 5 whole pepper corns, salt, 3 bay leaves

Spices:

nutmeg

cinnamon

onion powder

turmeric

salt

pepper

allspice

Handful of walnuts


Method:

  1. Puree walnuts in a blender, leave aside

  2. Add 2-3 tbsp vegetable oil to a large stock pot and on medium high heat, brown the chicken (skin side first) for a few minutes, once browned, add 5 cups of water and the aromatics, let boil until fully cooked and tender, around 20-25 minutes

  3. Add 4 tbsp vegetable oil to a wok or deep pan, on medium high heat add the walnut puree and while stirring consistently, bring the walnuts to a deep and rich brown/golden color

  4. Add the ground beef to the walnuts and bring the heat down to medium, add a quarter cup of water to keep the mix from sticking, add all the spices and mix. Cover this mix and leave on low heat for 20 minutes

  5. Once the chicken is cooked, add some of the stock to the walnut/beef mix and take the heat to high. Add the washed and soaked rice* to this mix. Make sure the stock is a full knuckle or inch above the level of the rice. You won't use all the stock. Cover and cook the rice on high for a few minutes, until the water is mostly soaked up by the rice, then lower the heat to your lowest setting and leave it to steam for 15-20 minutes.

  6. In a tbsp of butter, toast the nuts until slightly golden.

  7. Serve the rice with the chicken (whole or shredded), and sprinkled with the toasted nuts. This dish is delicious with some plain yogurt.





Tips: *Wash and soak your Calrose rice for at least an hour before cooking. If you're using basmati, add more water when cooking.

** Preserve the remaining stock in the freezer or use to make a simple vermicelli soup that you can enjoy with the rice.