Persian Chelo With Chicken

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1⁄2 cup butter

1 cup onion, chopped

1 teaspoon ground allspice

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1⁄2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1⁄2 teaspoon salt (to taste)

2 cups basmati rice, rinsed

3 cups water

1⁄4 cup olive oil

2 cups onions, chopped

1 tablespoon garlic, chopped

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon ground ginger (I used tbsp of fresh ginger)

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 teaspoons turmeric

2 lbs chicken thighs, boneless and skinless cut into 1 inch pieces

1⁄2 teaspoon salt, to taste

1⁄2 teaspoon pepper (the salt and pepper amounts are just guesses as I didn't measure and the recipe doesn't say)

1 cup canned tomato, chopped

1 cup chicken stock

6 cups spinach, washed stemmed and sliced (I used a large bag of regular spinach)

3⁄4 cup raisins (I used golden raisins)

2 tablespoons of fresh mint, chopped

2 tablespoons pistachios, toasted and chopped

2 tablespoons candied orange peel, sliced (this is optional and I did not use)


Soak the rice for at least half an hour, drain and rinse until water runs clear.

Melt 3 tbsp butter in a heavy pot over medium heat. Add onions and saute for 5 minutes or until softened.

Add allspice, cinnamon and black pepper. Season with salt. Cook for 1 minute or until fragrant.

Add rice and water and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and steam for 10 to 12 minutes or until slightly el dente.

Remove from heat and spread rice on a baking sheet to cool. Season with more salt if needed.

For the chicken filling: Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onions and saute for 6 to 8 minutes or until just beginning to brown. Add remaining oil and stir in garlic, cinnamon, ginger, cumin, coriander, cayenne pepper and turmeric, and cook for 1 minute or until fragrant.

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Add chicken to skillet and saute for 5 minutes or until beginning to brown. Add tomatoes and stock and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until sauce is thick and chicken is no longer pink. Add spinach and raisins and cook for 2 more minutes or until spinach wilts. Stir in mint. Taste for seasoning and allow to cool for 10 minutes.

Melt remaining butter in a 10 inch nonstick skillet (used my wonderful cast iron pan for this) over medium heat until butter is foamy. Remove and reserve 2 tbsp of melted butter. Remove pan from heat and add half of rice, spreading it evenly over base of skillet. Use a spatula to compress the rice slightly. Spoon chicken misture over the rice in an even layer. Finish with remaining rice, again compressing with a spatula. Use the handle of a wooden spoon to make a hole down through the centre of the mixture to let steam escape. Drizzle with reserved butter.

Cover and cook over medium heat for 25 to 30 minutes or until rice has formed a golden crust on the bottom. Watch so it does not get too dark. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Use a spatula to loosen sides. Reverse pan onto a large serving plate to the golden bottom is on the top.

Break up mixture with a spoon. Garnish with pistachios and candied orange.

Learn MORE / Get RECIPE at Kim W via

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