If this was for an actual wedding, it would obviously be made in mass quantities, and depending on the menu, it would either contain no meat at all or, more probably, would include lamb, but I opted for chicken. I'm not a big fan of dates, but many versions also include dates. If you wanted to get extra fancy, you could steep some saffron and use that liquid in place of some of the other liquid to give the rice that pretty yellow hue.
The amounts of fruit and nuts are certainly optional, or you could choose to include different fruit and/or nuts. As I mentioned, many people use dates, while others include prunes, pine nuts, walnuts, etc.
2 chicken breasts, diced
4 T butter, divided
1 c rice
1/3 c shireh (browned vermicelli - see Pilaf for methods)
2 c chicken broth (or water or a combination)
salt and pepper
10 dried apricots, diced
3 T currants
3 T slivered almonds
3 T pistachios
- Start by dicing your chicken into bite-sized pieces. Mine were actually a little larger than necessary this time. You could also use leftover cooked chicken.
- Cook the chicken in 3T of the butter, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. Because the pieces are small, this should just take a few minutes. If you would like to actually brown the chicken, reduce the amount of butter to just 1T to start, adding the other 2 as needed or at the end. You do want to use it all though, to flavor the dish.
- Stir in the rice and shireh and let that cook in the butter for a minute or so, seasoning with salt and pepper (bear in mind that your pistachios may be salted).
- Stir in the broth (and/or water) and bring up to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer until the rice is tender and the liquid has been absorbed.
- While the rice is cooking, heat the remaining 1T of butter and saute the apricot pieces and currants until plump and fragrant.
- Add the almonds to the fruit mixture and continue cooking until the almonds are lightly browned. If your rice is not done yet, remove the fruit/nut mixture from the heat and transfer to a small plate to prevent the almonds from burning.
- When the rice is done, fluff with a fork and transfer to a serving platter. Make an indentation in the center and fill with the fruit/nut mixture.
- Sprinkle the pistachios over the top.