Nigel Slater’s roast chicken pilau recipe

The recipe
Wash 200g of white basmati rice in a bowl of warm water, drain, then transfer to a medium-sized saucepan. Add 2 bay leaves, 4 cloves, 8 peppercorns and half a stick of cinnamon. Crack 6 green cardamom pods with a heavy weight, just enough to open them, then add them to the rice, pour over enough water to cover and bring to the boil. Add ½ tsp of salt and lower the heat to a simmer, cover tightly with a lid and leave to simmer for 10 minutes.

Peel 1 large onion and slice into thin rounds. In a large, shallow-sided pan, heat 3 tbsp of olive oil, add the onion and cook over a moderate heat for 10-15 minutes or until soft and translucent. If it is starting to turn gold, then all to the good.

Drain 1 x 400g can of chickpeas and add to the onions. Stir in 1½ tsp each of mild curry powder and cumin seeds, 90g of golden sultanas or raisins and 50g of pine kernels. Continue cooking, stirring regularly until the sultanas have plumped up and the pine kernels are golden.

Remove the rice after 10 minutes cooking and set aside, lid in place. Strip 250g of leftover roast chicken from its bones. Chop the leaves from 15g of parsley and 10 mint leaves and stir into the onions and spices.

Remove the lid from the rice and loosen the grains with a fork. Tip into the onions, herbs and aromatics and fold the ingredients together with a fork. Check the seasoning. Enough for 2.

The chicken is best if at room temperature rather than straight from the fridge.

If you are cooking from scratch rather than using leftover chicken, you will need 2 chicken legs roasted for about 30 minutes until crisp, then stripped from their bones.

Once made, the pilau can be kept in the fridge for a day for eating cold as a salad, but remove it from the fridge for half an hour or so beforehand.