Riz a djeij


  • Prep Time15 mins
  • Total Time15 mins
  • Makes4 servings
*PLUS Cooking time: 40 minutes
Riz a djeij


  • 3 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 tbsp butter

  • 1 large onion

  • 5 bay leaves

  • 1 tsp ground ginger

  • 1 tsp cinnamon

  • 1 tsp whole black peppercorns

  • 3/4 tsp salt

  • Generous pinches ground cloves

  • Generous pinches ground nutmeg

  • 1 small whole chicken or 4 boneless chicken breasts

  • 2-Jan lemon

  • 3 cups water

  • 1 cup short-grain rice

  • 1 onion

  • 3 tbsp butter

  • 375 g lean ground lamb or ground beef

  • 2 tsp cinnamon

  • 1 tsp allspice

  • 3/4 tsp salt

  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

  • 1 tbsp garlic, minced

  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

  • 1 cup slivered almonds, toasted (optional)

  • yogurt, optional


  • In a large pot, heat oil with 1 tbsp (15 mL) butter over medium heat. Add onion, bay leaves and seasonings. Sauté until onion softens, about 5 min. Add chicken, turning often until it takes on a little colour, 2 to 3 min. Squeeze juice of lemon overtop, then add water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to med­ium-low. Cover and simmer until chicken is tender, up to an hour for the whole chicken or 25 to 30 min for breasts. Turn once or twice.

  • Meanwhile, in a medium-size bowl, cover rice with hot water. Chop onion and set both aside. When chicken is cooked, remove to a bowl. Strain broth and save only the broth. Using the same pot, melt 1 tbsp (15 mL) butter over medium heat. Add onion and ground beef. Sprinkle with spices. Sauté until meat loses pink colour, about 5 min. Work with a fork to keep meat crumbly. Then stir in garlic and continue cooking for 2 min.

  • Drain rice and stir into meat mixture until rice takes on some colour. Then pour in 2 cups (500 mL) strained broth. Using a wooden spoon, scrape up and stir in brown bits from pan bottom. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer until rice is tender, about 20 min.

  • Meanwhile, shred chicken. To make a gravy from the remaining broth, measure out 1 cup (250 mL). Add extra chicken broth or water if necessary to make up the 1 cup (250 mL). Melt remaining 2 tbsp (30 mL) butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in flour with a wooden spoon until bubbly. Gradually whisk in broth. Continue whisking until gravy is thickened and smooth, 2 to 3 min.

  • When rice is ready, stir in parsley, then turn onto a platter. Make a well in the centre and fill with chicken. Scatter almonds over­top. Drizzle yogourt and gravy over rice.

Don't be put off by the number of ingredients needed to make Pamela Bakalian's heavenly Lebanese chicken and rice. The result is entirely worth your effort.