Seasoned with a generous helping of salt & pepper, pilau is cooked right in it’s own chicken stock, no skimming the fat here. This classic southern chicken & rice dish has long been a regional favorite as it’s easy to prepare & a savvy way to feed folks as it uses every aspect of what you put into it from the chicken stock to the chopped cooked meat. It can be prepared numerous ways & each cook adds a few special touches to make this basic chicken & rice dish a family favorite meal ideal for weeknight suppers. The foundation of Lemon-Thyme Chicken Pilau begins with a whole bird. It’s a recipe my mother-in-law, a South Carolinian native, taught me how to prepare. Follow my pointers for making this dish in your own kitchen & have a look at How To Make Chopped or Shredded Cooked Chicken & How To Make Homemade Chicken Broth for additional tips for working with a whole chicken.
Lemon-Thyme Chicken Pilau
makes 6 servings
3 1/2 lb whole fryer
1 Tbsp kosher salt
1 tsp poultry seasoning
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
3 generous sprigs fresh thyme
1 small lemon, sliced
1/4 cup butter
1 large sweet onion, chopped
Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper
2 cups long grain rice
4 cups reserved chicken broth
Rinse the chicken under cool water & place in a Dutch oven. Add enough water to fill 3/4 full. The chicken will not be completely submerged. Bring chicken & the next 5 ingredients to a boil over High heat. Reduce the heat, cover loosely with the lid. Simmer about 45 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through & begins to fall off of the bone.
Carefully remove the chicken from the broth. Place a colander over a large pot & pour the hot broth through it to catch all of the solids. The fat will not be removed from the broth. Reserve 4 cups of broth to finish the dish. Save the remaining broth for another use.
Melt the butter in the same Dutch oven over Medium-High heat. Add the chopped onion & sprinkle enough salt & pepper over the onions so that you can see it. Cook 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in the rice & the broth. Bring the mixture to a boil, cover, reduce the heat to Low & cook 20 minutes. Pull the chicken from the bone & stir it into the cooked rice.
FROM THE KITCHEN OF BUTTERMILK LIPSTICK
How To Make Chicken Pilau
Chicken dishes have long been family supper staples. Although a bit more time consuming than the average weeknight supper, pilau offers a hands-off time investment & a budget friendly meal solution by using the entire bird from meat to broth. Follow my pointers for making this southern recipe classic.
From boiling a whole chicken to collecting the broth & preparing the final dish, this southern favorite is an easy recipe to prepare. It simply takes a little hands-free time. Get the bird on the stove top & attend to some other tasks. Before long, you’ll have a simple, satisfying meal that is not only tasty but good for you. Here’s what you should know.
The Chicken Preparation
Remove the goodies from the cavity of the bird before you begin. This may include the neck bone, the liver… giblets & quite possibly a lagniappe of additional items that you may want to discard. Although optional, toss some celery with the leaves, a carrot or two & an extra chopped onion in the pot to season the broth further. Discard them once the bird is cooked. Not a traditional addition, I use lemon & thyme in chicken pilau. It adds an extra layer of flavor to this rudimentary chicken & rice dish.
An easy way to capture the broth & strain off the solids is to place a colander over a larger pot in the sink as you will not need to lift the hot & heavy pot as far when pouring the liquid. The fat will not be removed from the broth as it imparts additional flavor to the finished dish.
The Cooked Chicken
Allow the chicken to cool until it’s easy to handle. Leave the cooked chicken in large chunks as you pull the meat from the bones. It will hold up better in the dish & will also keep it nice & tender.
Once the broth has been prepped, sauté the onion in butter. Season with enough pepper so that you can see it. A simple long grain rice can be used for this dish & it cooks beautifully every time.
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“I Can’t Be Satisfied” Muddy Waters