This dish was divine. The moist chicken pieces perfectly match the pilaf with the whole combination epitomising Turkish cuisine – sitting comfortably on the European / Middle East divide. Try to find the sumac as it gives the dish an authentic sharp lemony tang.
Wine Suggestion: Look for a good quality Albariño or Godello from Spain that has seen a small amount of oak for structure. These will provide a good balance of citrus/zestiness, medium body and tangy minerality to complement the chicken and sumac.
Sautéed Chicken with Tomato Pilfaf – to serve 4
- 4 chicken fillets, breast or thigh, cut into cubes
- 1 tbsp sunflower oil
- 35g butter
- 2 tbsp chopped parsley
- lemon quarters or sumac to garnish
FOR THE TOMATO PILAF
- 300g basmati rice
- 500g ripe tomatoes, peeled
- 1 chicken stock cube
- 2 tsp sugar
- 75g butter, cut into small cubes
Make the pilaf first. Pour cold water over the rice and leave to soak in a bowl for a few minutes, then strain and rinse under cold water.
Quarter the tomatoes, remove the core, then liquefy in a food processor. Add enough water to the tomato juice to make it up to 650ml. Pour into a pan, add the crumbled stock cube, the sugar and some salt and pepper and bring to the boil.
Add the rice and stir well. Simmer, covered, over a low heat, for 18-20 minutes or until the rice is tender and the liquid has been absorbed. Don’t be tempted to stir it during this time but you can add a bit more water if it looks dry. Fold in the butter. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
While the rice is cooking, heat the oil and butter in a frying pan and sauté the chicken for 6-8 minutes or until lightly browned, turning once. Sprinkle the chicken with the parsley and serve with lemon quarters or sprinkle with sumac, along with the rice.
(Original recipe from Claudia Roden’s Arabesque, Penguin 2005.)