Chicken Fattee with Rice, Crispbread & Yogurt

February 22, 2007

(adapted from Casa Moro: The Second Cookbook by Sam & Sam Clark)

This layered dish from Lebanon is just perfect for sharing with family and friends: several simple components add up to make a glorious main course. (Note: this is the perfect use of a store-bought rotisserie chicken!).

Serves 8

1 whole, roasted chicken- meat removed from the bone and sliced or torn into manageable pieces (keep warm until ready to use)

Tomato Sauce
1/4 c. olive oil
5 garlic cloves, sliced
1 cinnamon stick
2 14.5 oz. cans plum tomatoes, drained and the tomatoes crushed well

1 1/4 c. basmati rice, unwashed
2 Tbls. butter or olive oil
sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 lg. onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 14.5. oz. cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 cups water or chicken stock

2 medium eggplants, cut into 1-inch cubes and tossed with 1 tsp. salt
1/2 c. olive oil

Other Bits
1 quantity crispbread
2 c. Greek Yogurt, mixed with 1 garlic clove crushed with salt
1/2 c. fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley, roughly-chopped
2-3 oz. pignoli nuts, lightly toasted

Prepare Rice
Rinse rice in several changes of cold water to wash off the starch. Cover with warm water, stir in the salt and let soak for 30-60 minutes.

To Make the Tomato Sauce
Heat olive oil in a fry pan over a medium heat. Fry garlic until light brown. Add cinnamon stick and prepared tomatoes. Simmer for half an hour. Season with salt and pepper. Keep warm.

To Finish Rice
In a medium saucepan, melt butter over a medium eat. Add cinamon stick and onion. Stirring occasionally, fry until onions until golden brown, about 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat.

To Fry Eggplants
Rinse salt off eggplants, then dry with paper towels. Heat olive oil in a large fry pan over medium-high heat and fry eggplants until soft and brown. Cover and keep warm.

15 minutes Before Eating
Return the onions over high heat. Drain rice well ad add to onion. Fry for 1 minute. Add water or stock and chickpeas to pan. Add 1/2 tsp. salt and cover top of the water with parchment or foil followed by a tight-fitting lid. Boil fast for 5 minutes. Rice should be ready, remove from heat but leave covered.

To Layer Up the Fattee
All the separate components should be warm, save for the prepared crispbread, yogurt and other bits. Grab a big platter, begin layering in this order: first- crispbread, second- rice, third- chicken (including juices from the pan), fourth- eggplant, fifth- tomato sauce, sixth- a scattering of yogurt, and finally- lots of chopped parsley and pignoli. Serve immediately.

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