Riz a Jej (Lebanese Chicken & Rice) Recipe

For this classic Lebanese dish, flavor ground lamb and rice with warm, aromatic spices, then finish with juicy rotisserie chicken and a medley of nuts and seeds.
riz-a-jej-recipe
photo by Farideh Sadeghin

Serves: 4 to 6
Prep time: 15 minutes 
Total time: 1 hour 

INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil 
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 pounds|910 grams ground beef or lamb 
2 cups|380 grams long-grain white rice
6 tablespoons|45 grams bahārāt 
2 tablespoons kosher salt 
1 large rotisserie chicken, shredded
5 cups|1183 ml chicken stock (preferably homemade) 
5 bay leaves
1 ¼ cups|300 ml vegetable oil
½ cup|70 grams cashews 
¼ cup|40 grams pepitas
¼ cup|35 grams pistachios 
¼ cup|35 grams pine nuts 
¼ cup|30 grams sesame seeds 
¼ cup|35 grams slivered almonds 

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DIRECTIONS

  1. Make the rice: Heat the butter, olive oil, and onion in a large saucepan over medium until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add the ground meat and cook, stirring often, until golden, about 15 minutes. Add the rice, 4 tablespoons of bahārāt, and salt and cook, stirring to coat the rice with the spices, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add 4 cups|946 ml of chicken stock and the bay leaves and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, until the rice is fully cooked, 20 to 25 minutes. Keep warm. 
  2. Mix the remaining 2 tablespoons of bahārāt and the shredded chicken in a medium saucepan, then add the remaining 1 cup|250 ml of chicken stock. Bring to a gentle simmer over low and cook until the chicken is heated through, about 5 minutes. (This process will keep the chicken moist and flavorful.) 
  3. Meanwhile, toast the nuts. Heat 1 cup|237 ml of the canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Working with one type of nut at a time, cook the nuts until toasted, 2 to 3 minutes for the cashews, 1 to 2 minutes for the pepitas, 1 to 2 minutes for the pistachios, and 1 to 2 minutes for the almonds. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and season with salt. Discard the oil and pour the remaining ¼ cup|60 ml of oil into the pan. Toast the pine nuts for 1 to 2 minutes, then toast the sesame seeds for 1 to 2 minutes. You’ll need to strain the sesame seeds through a fine mesh strainer, so do those guys last! Toss them all together in a large bowl and set aside.
  4. To assemble, fluff the rice with a fork, then place the rice mixture on a serving platter. Cover with the shredded chicken and garnish with the toasted nuts.

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