This tasted luxurious and refreshing with the saffron butter and orange, top notch treatment for your leftover roast chicken!
Wine Suggestion: This called for an Alsace Pinot Gris, well more specifically the Bott-Geyl Pinot d’Alsace “Metiss” which is actually a blend of all the Pinot’s you can think of plus Pinot Noir to form a layered and textured wine with lovely freshness and hints of spice that brought out the saffron and orange flavours. Bott-Geyl are a brilliant, biodynamic producer and I think each vintage they build upon the past and deliver even more. This bottle we had lying in our cellar, so they age nicely for a few years, if you can resist, but don’t worry, they taste just as good fresh and young.
Chicken, date & lentil brown rice pilaf with saffron butter – serves 6
- 15g unsalted butter, plus an additional 30g for the saffron butter
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 300g brown basmati rice, washed until the water runs clear
- 700ml chicken stock
- 12 dates, pitted and sliced thinly, lengthways
- finely grated zest of 1 orange and juice of ½
- 200g Puy lentils, rinsed
- good squeeze of lemon juice
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 350g cooked chicken, torn in to pieces
- 25g chopped, unsalted pistachios or toasted flaked almonds
- 4 tbsp roughly chopped coriander leaves
- generous pinch of saffron strands
- 300g Greek yoghurt
Heat the 15g of butter in a heavy-based saucepan and sauté the onion until soft and lightly coloured. Add the garlic and continue to cook for another couple of minutes. Add the rice and stir until well coated with the butter and starting to toast. Add the chicken stock, dates, and orange zest and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, cover and cook for about 30 minutes by which time the stock will have become absorbed. If it starts to look dry add a little boiling water.
Meanwhile, cook the lentils in lots of boiling water until tender. They can take between 15-30 minutes so keep checking to ensure they don’t turn to mush. When cooked, drain and rinse in hot water and add to the rice. Fork through, season with salt and pepper and a good squeeze of lemon juice.
Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and quickly reheat the cooked chicken, then season. Gently fork through the rice and lentils along with the nuts, coriander and orange juice. Taste again for seasoning.
Quickly make the saffron butter by melting the 30g butter in a pan, add the saffron and stir so the butter takes on the colour.
Put the rice on a serving platter, spoon on some yoghurt, pour on the saffron butter and serve.
(Original recipe from A Bird in the Hand by Diana Henry, Mitchell Beazley, 2015.)