Serves a Crowd

Riz a Jej (Lebanese Chicken & Rice)

January 14, 2019
20 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland
  • Prep time 30 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour
  • Serves 4 to 6 people
Author Notes

This traditional Lebanese chicken and rice dish is one of my favorites. Flavorful, seasoned rice, topped with juicy chicken and studded with nuts—it is, for me, the purest definition of comfort food. —Edouard Massih

Test Kitchen Notes

Featured in: Why Grandma Odette's Chicken & Rice Is the Dish I Crave Every Easter. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 pounds ground beef or lamb
  • 2 cups long-grain white rice
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 4 tablespoons bahārāt (seven-pepper spice)
  • 4 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
  • 5 cups chicken stock (preferably homemade)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup pistachios
  1. MAKE RICE: In a large pot, add the butter, olive oil, and onion and cook for 5 minutes until the onion softens. Make sure the onions don’t brown. Add the ground meat and cook, stirring regularly, for 10 minutes until the meat starts to brown. Add the rice, salt, and 2 tablespoons of the bahārāt to the pot, and cook for 2 minutes as you're stirring and coating the rice with the spices. Add 4 cups of chicken stock and bay leaves to the pot and bring to the boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, until the rice is fully cooked.
  2. MAKE CHICKEN: In a medium-sized pot, add shredded chicken and remaining 2 tbsp bahārāt. Mix well until fully seasoned. Add remaining 1 cup of chicken stock to the mixture and bring it to a gentle simmer on a low heat. This process will keep the chicken moist and flavorful.
  3. TOAST NUTS: Set the oven at the 450°F. In separate batches, toast each nut in the oven for 3 to 5 minutes until lightly golden. Once toasted, mix all the nuts together. Set aside.
  4. ASSEMBLE: To assemble, place the rice mixture on a serving platter and cover with shredded chicken. Garnish with toasted nuts.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Francesca Belanger
    Francesca Belanger
  • Katheryn's Kitchen
    Katheryn's Kitchen
  • Edouard Massih
    Edouard Massih
  • BigA

25 Reviews

Bergeroc May 10, 2023
So, so good and so simple to make. Used a whole deboned rotisserie chicken and for nuts used pistachios, pine nuts and almonds because that's all I have. I've made this recipe 3 or 4 times now and it is well loved in my family.I will be searching for more of this chef's recipes!
Lori November 17, 2021
I braised a 12-pound pork shoulder recently so I googled recipes for pulled pork and this one came up. It tasted so much better than how the recipe read. I’ll have to freeze some of it, because it made a lot, but will look forward to the leftovers.
JustloveCooking August 15, 2021
Stumbled onto this recipe by mistake. Not really something the family and I would eat. Tracked down the spice and all the measurements where perfect. It tasted amazing. Just keep in mind I think it could feed 12 people. Thanks for a great meal idea.
halfdani October 23, 2019
Had to adapt this a bit for ingredients at hand -
Used Shwarma spice instead of Baharat, and only had pine nuts.
It still came out delicious and even my LO (2 y.o.) asked for seconds.
Edouard M. October 28, 2019
Ahhh love that you're 2 year old asked for seconds! So happy you were able to compromise and make a delicious riz a jej.
Reem April 23, 2019
Surely its riz w jej not 'a' :) delicious. Nothing like good, Arabic food.
Edouard M. October 28, 2019
So glad you enjoyed it!!
supernovae April 22, 2019
Edouard M. April 22, 2019
Thanks :)
bookczuk April 19, 2019
Cooked this last night. Marvelous, and really liked by all. I didn't have the bahārāt, but did have on hand some berbere I got from Spicewalla (love their spices. I get them online) which had all the spices in bahārāt and a few more. I did cut back on the rice, using 1.5 cups, because that's all I had, but it still was yummy and a good ratio.
Edouard M. April 22, 2019
Ahhh so happy to hear that you all enjoyed the rice! I like the way you compramised with what you had in your pantry and still made the ratio work :)
Salim April 17, 2019
I saw the recipe and will say that there are quite a few variations out there with the same intent of achieving riz-a-djaj. Yet you left me wondering as to why you included sesame seeds and excluding the walnuts. This dish does not call for sesame seeds ever, was this a mistake or is it you putting a stamp on your own recipe by changing one of the ingredients?
Edouard M. April 17, 2019
Hi Salim, Thank you for asking that is my twist on this classic dish. The sesame seeds add an extra bite to every spoonful.
Francesca B. April 17, 2019
Yes, how much chicken? Raw? Already cooked? What?
Edouard M. April 17, 2019
Hii Francesca, I have edited the recipe and it asks for 4 cups of shredded pre cooked chicken. I normally use rotisserie chicken and then use the bones to make a homemade stock with :)
Francesca B. April 17, 2019
Thank you! This looks like a wonderful recipe and I'm looking forward to trying it (and making my own baharat--thanks so much for including those ingredients/amounts, too.

Edouard M. April 17, 2019
Can't wait for you to try this!!
Katheryn's K. April 17, 2019
The shredded chicken is not listed in the ingredient list, maybe it should be. Also any chance you could describe what exactly baharat is, what spices are in the mix? Perhaps a recipe for baharat to make at home? Thanks
Edouard M. April 17, 2019
Hi Katheryn, I just added the shredded chicken to the ingredient list! Of course Baharat is a mixture of black pepper, paprika, cumin, coriander, clove, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cardamom.
BigA April 17, 2019
I was going to comment the exact same thing! this looks great! I would love to try making it!
Katheryn's K. April 17, 2019
Thank you! I have all those spices in my cupboard, what amount are we looking at for each spice to make the mix?
Edouard M. April 17, 2019
I would use 1 tsp black pepper, paprika, clove, nutmeg, cinnamon.
2 tsp cumin, coriander, cardamom for the mix.
Katheryn's K. April 17, 2019
Thank you for this! Looks delicious, I will definitely try and make in the future.
Edouard M. April 17, 2019
Yay!! Please tag me when you post it @edouardmassih #cateredbyedy
Francesca B. May 18, 2019
Just made it tonight, including the spice mix. Delicious. I tagged you on Instagram, hope it worked. Thanks for this wonderful recipe.