One Vermont Bride Plans a Jordanian Wedding Feast | Recipes | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Ouzi With Chicken

Eman Hayyat says her mom’s ouzi may be too casual for her elegant, Middle Eastern-themed nuptials. “Ouzi just seems like such an at-home, I-don’t-feel-like-cooking-today thing,” she says.

Not everyone agrees: The Jordanian rice dish is often served at celebrations and was a hit at Eman’s brother Sama’s wedding. Given its ease of preparation, it’s bound to be popular in your kitchen, too.

Salwa Hayyat doesn’t take measurements when she cooks, but, with Sama’s help, we think we’ve figured out a pretty close approximation. Salwa served this as a wedding dish to 250 people; this version serves four to six.

For the chicken:

  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot paprika
  • Black pepper and salt to taste
  • 1 whole chicken, divided into the cuts of your choice. Reserve backs and wings for stock, if you choose to make your own.

For the rice:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 pound ground beef or lamb
  • 1 cup baby carrots
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen peas
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock, or just enough to cover rice
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup blanched almonds

  1. Combine yogurt and spices, then marinate chicken in mixture at least 30 minutes, or overnight if you have time.
  2. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil and heat a heavy pan or Dutch oven. Rub off as much yogurt mix as possible and brown chicken pieces. Transfer them to oven and bake for 45 minutes, or until cooked through.
  3. Cook ground meat in butter in the pot you intend to use for rice. Once it is browned, add carrots and peas and cook until lightly softened. Throw in spices and cook until aromatic. Mix in rice, then add stock, just enough to cover. Simmer covered about 15 minutes, or until rice is soft. Add more stock if dish dries out before the rice is cooked.
  4. In a separate pan, roast pine nuts and almonds in a small amount of butter until golden brown.
  5. When rice is finished, cover with nuts and chicken and serve.

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About The Author

Alice Levitt

Alice Levitt

Bio:
AAN award-winning food writer Alice Levitt is a fan of the exotic, the excellent and automats. She wrote for Seven Days 2007-2015.

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