Pilav is the original form of the English word pilaf, meaning “a grain” – usually rice – that is browned in fat before being cooked in a seasoned broth, often with the addition of vegetables and/or meat. This is the underpinning of so much of the cooking of the Middle East, we couldn’t imagine not including this delicious dish here. Feel free to swap out the pine nuts or currants for other dried fruits and nuts of your liking.

  • 1.6 kilo (3 ½ pounds) (approximately) bone-in-chicken parts or one whole chicken cut into 10 pieces
  • 1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 450g (2 cups) long-grain rice
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground all-spice
  • 90g (⅔ cup) pine nuts
  • 100g (⅔ cup) currents
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • Salt to taste
  1. Season the chicken pieces all over with salt. Heat a heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven, add the oil and heat until shimmering. Add the seasoned chicken pieces in batches (do not crowd pan) and brown well on all sides. Transfer to a plate.
  2. Reduce heat of the pan to medium and add to the fat in the pan the chopped onions, cook, stirring often until the onions are soft and starting to turn golden: 5-7 minutes.
  3. Add the rice to the pan and stir until the rice is well incorporated into the fat and soft onions. Add the cinnamon and allspice, pine nuts and currants, and keep stirring until well incorporated. Add the stock, bring to a boil, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to loosen any browned bits.
  4. Place the chicken pieces in the pot and pour in any accumulated juices. Cover the pot and simmer over medium-low heat for 20-25 minutes, check that the rice is tender and the chicken is cooked through. Remove from the heat, cover pot with a clean tea towel and then place the lid over the tea towel, leave covered and undisturbed for 10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning before serving.