Lebanese Chicken-and-Rice (variation on a theme)

Okay. So I've posted this recipe--or variations of it--a bunch of time prior on this blog, but I enjoy it so much--and am convinced that you will, too--that I had to post it again. And, yes...this is yet another variation. I made this for staff lunch yesterday and what I did slightly differently is that I added a pinch of saffron to give the rice and chicken a beautiful yellow hue, and I also used a couple tablespoons of baharat, or 7-spice mix instead of those listed in the recipe below (the spices in the recipe are very similar to the seven spice mix, but I had some baharat on hand at work). I also used brown rice (both versions are listed in the recipe below) and organic chicken breast with the wing bone still intact. Anyhow, try this recipe...you won't be sorry. It'll make your house smell delicious as it cooks, and you might want to make a double batch because leftovers are just as good. For more Lebanese-inspired recipes, click here.

Lebanese Chicken-and-Rice
Makes 4 servings

4 tablespoon olive oil
4 chicken breasts or boneless thighs
1 medium onion, diced
2 ounces vermicelli or spaghetti, broken into pieces
¾ pound ground beef or lamb
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon allspice
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup rice (white or brown; see below)
2-3 cups hot chicken broth (depending on which rice you use)
1 small bunch parsley, minced

Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a heavy-bottomed pan. Sauté the chicken on both sides until golden brown, then remove it from the pan and set aside. Add the onion and vermicelli to the pan and cook until golden; using a slotted spoon remove it and set aside. Add the meat to the pan (and a little water and/or oil if necessary) and cook until the meat begins to brown. Drain any excess fat, then add the garlic and cook another minute or two. Add the cinnamon, cumin, allspice, and salt; sauté two minutes while stirring. Add the onion and pasta back to the pan along with the rice, stirring to fully coat it with with the oil and spices. Then add the chicken breasts to the pan, pushing them gently into the rice. If using white rice, add two cups of broth to the pan; if using brown rice add three cups of broth to the pan, then cover the pot with a lid. Bring the broth to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for about 18 minutes if using white rice and about 30-40 minutes if using brown rice. Remove the pot from the stove and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with minced parsley.

Urban Simplicity.