The Art Of Cooking – T’beet – Iraqi Slow-Cooked Chicken And Rice

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This seemingly simple dish is a classic staple of the Iraqi Shabbat lunch! Normally prepared a day in advance and left in the oven overnight.

In this recipe, I will like to stay true to the original flavor of the dish and make sure that your kitchen will smell like an Iraqi Saturday morning.

The flavors are soft and comforting, which together with the juicy chicken and sticky rice –  is a dish that cannot fail!
Trust me, this is the dish that I always ate on the day of my arrival at the home of my grandmother in Israel; I would eat this dish next to all the other colorful and more exciting dishes, and yet even though it does not stand out, it connects all the other dishes together.

Ingredients:
1 whole chicken
Minced beef for the stuffing, make sure it has some fat in it!
Rice
1 large onion
1 can of tomatoes
Oil
Chicken stock
Salt
Cardamon
Cinnamon
Nutmeg
Cloves

Stuffing the chicken:
First mix in a bowl the minced meat in a 50/50 ratio with washed rice.
Add into it the following spices, 1 teaspoon Kardemon, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon nutmeg, half a teaspoon cloves, 1 teaspoon salt.
Do not over mix it, and make sure that the minced meat and the rice are loose, then place the mixture inside the chicken cavity, and tie the legs in front of the opening to block it.

Cooking the T’beet:
Cut the onion into small pieces and put them into a big non-stick pot, (The non-stick pot is very important, because we would like the bottom of the pot to caramelize), then add some oil and fry on a low heat until translucent. When the onion is ready add the canned tomatoes and make sure they are softened up.
At this point, if you wish you can add some dried bay leaves or dried chili pepper, to give a bit more depth to the flavor, but this extra addition is optional.
Now add the whole chicken into the pot and fry it on all sides until the entire skin of the chicken is golden brown.
When the skin is brown and crispy add a liter of chicken stock and let it simmer on very low heat for 1 to 2 hours with the lid on.

The longer one simmers the chicken, one should remember to check if there is enough liquid in the pot, add water accordingly.

So, 15 minutes before you are ready to eat, add into the pot the 1 and a half cup of washed rice and make sure the rice is covered by the stock and put the lid back on.
Then, when the rice has absorbed all the liquid, the dish is done – there will be some crispy dark parts at the bottom, this is supposed to be the best part of the rice!
It is a very comforting dish and it works well as a lunch or dinner!
It is nice to eat it with some salad or some other Iraqi dishes, for example, Kubbah!
Remember to eat the T’beet surrounded by your family, and friends! Beteavon.

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