Middle Eastern

Celebration Rice With Lamb, Chicken & Garlic Yogurt From Ottolenghi Test Kitchen

December 16, 2021
7 Ratings
  • Prep time 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Cook time 2 hours 20 minutes
  • Serves 6 to 8
Author Notes

This warming spiced rice is a definite show-stopper, the kind of meal you’d make for a special occasion. We toyed over including this recipe in the book, laborious as it is, but, in all honesty, Noor wouldn’t have it any other way. Rice, she believes, deserves to be prized and treasured—taking center stage at many a family table—and so, make this one as a weekend project, a feast of feasts, a real cause for celebration. Yes, it takes time, but here’s a promise that it is oh-so-worth-it.

Get ahead:

Cook the chicken the day before, refrigerating the flavorful stock and shredded chicken separately.

Make it your own:

Swap out the lamb for ground beef, or a mixture of the two, if you wish. The cinnamon rice is a treat on its own, so skip out on everything else if you want to, and eat this with some veggies and a spoonful of yogurt. —Food52

Test Kitchen Notes

Recipe excerpted with permission from Ottolenghi Test Kitchen: Shelf Love by Noor Murad and Yotam Ottolenghi, published by Clarkson Potter © 2021. —The Editors

What You'll Need
Watch This Recipe
Celebration Rice With Lamb, Chicken & Garlic Yogurt From Ottolenghi Test Kitchen
  • Chicken
  • 1 whole chicken (3 lb/1.4kg)
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 yellow onion, cut into 6 wedges (51/4 oz/150g)
  • 1 head of garlic, skin on and halved crosswise
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup (5 grams) flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Rice
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped (1 cup/150 grams)
  • 2 ounces (300 grams) ground lamb
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 cups (400 grams) basmati rice, rinsed, soaked in cold water for at least 1 hour, and then drained
  • Garlic Yogurt
  • 3 cups (500 grams) whole-milk Greek yogurt
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Garnish
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup (30 grams) blanched almonds
  • 1/4 cup (30 grams) pine nuts
  • 3/4 teaspoon Aleppo chile, or 1/2 teaspoon standard red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup (5 grams) parsley leaves
  • 1/4 cup (40 grams) pomegranate seeds
  1. Put the chicken into a large saucepan, for which you have a lid, along with the cinnamon sticks, onion, garlic, 81/2 cups/2 liters of water, and 2 teaspoons of salt. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, for 70 minutes, or until cooked through. Lift out the chicken and, when cool enough, tear into large bite-size chunks, discarding the skin and bones. Place the chicken in a bowl with the ground cumin and cinnamon and set aside. Strain the stock through a sieve set over a large bowl, discarding the solids. Measure out 31/2 cups/850ml and keep warm (save the remainder for another use).
  2. For the rice, put the oil and half the butter into a large saucepan, for which you have a lid, and place on medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for 7 minutes, stirring often, until lightly golden. Add the lamb, garlic, and spices and cook for 2 minutes more, stirring often, until the lamb is no longer pink. Add the rice, 3 cups/700ml of the warm stock, 1 3/4 teaspoons of salt, and a good grind of pepper. Bring to a boil, then decrease the heat to low, cover with the lid, and cook for 15 minutes. Take off the heat and allow to sit, covered, for 15 minutes more. Add the remaining butter and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, make the yogurt sauce by whisking together the yogurt, garlic, 3/4 teaspoon of salt, and the remaining 1/2 cup/150ml of warm stock in a medium bowl.
  4. Put 2 tablespoons of oil into a large saute pan on medium high heat. Add the chicken pieces and cook for 5 minutes, to warm through. Remove from the heat, stir in the lemon juice and parsley, and set aside.
  5. Make the garnish by putting the butter into a small frying pan on medium-high heat. Add the almonds and cook for 3 minutes, stirring, until lightly colored. Add the pine nuts and cook for another 2 minutes, until golden. Remove from the heat and add the Aleppo chile.
  6. Spread the rice over a large, round serving platter. Top with the chicken, then pour half the garlic yogurt over the top. Finish with the nuts and butter, followed by the parsley and pomegranate seeds. Serve the remaining yogurt alongside.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • JonFountain
  • LDMcDowell
  • pvanhagenlcsw
  • Lmkltk

4 Reviews

JonFountain March 24, 2024
Absolutely lovely recipe. I did this for a family Sunday lunch and it went down a storm with a Fatoush salad on the side.
LDMcDowell November 15, 2022
Wow. This one is a keeper. Warm, comforting spices, nutty, buttery rice, and tender, lemony chicken combine with textural interest from the toasty almonds and juicy pops of pomegranate seeds. It makes a beautiful presentation and would be great on a holiday buffet. It really was not even hard (although I skipped the whole chicken and just poached a couple of chicken breasts in stock flavored per the recipe). I also added three cardamom pods. Try it!
pvanhagenlcsw October 26, 2022
This deeply flavorful dish is so very worth the time and effort and I was so very proud to present it to my family and guests. It was a grand celebration indeed.
Lmkltk January 9, 2022
Delicious showstopper. Component parts can be made ahead, heated through, and assembled prior to serving. Added some cardamon pods and fenugreek seeds to the broth for more depth of flavor. Kids loved the pomegranate arils.