Pilaf with Spinach and Garlic
This tasty side goes with a variety of meals.
- 4-5 cups chicken stock or poaching liquid if poaching your own chicken
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 pound thin linguine, broken into 2-inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 large shallots, finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice
- Salt and pepper
- 3 cups baby spinach, packed
- 1 cup flat leaf parsley, packed
- Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
- 4 cups pulled cooked chicken (use store-bought rotisserie or poach your own*)
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds or pine nuts, toasted
* For the chicken:
- 1 4-pound chicken
- 2 carrots, coarsely chopped
- 1 leek, halved and quartered across
- 1 onion, halved
- 2 celery ribs with leafy tops, quartered across
- 2 large cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 large fresh bay leaves
- 6-8 peppercorns
- 1 lemon, sliced
*If poaching your own chicken: Place the chicken in a pot with the poaching ingredients. Add enough water to just cover the chicken. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a low rolling boil. Season the water with salt; reduce the heat and poach for 45-60 minutes, turning once. Cool in the poaching liquid to room temperature. Remove the chicken from the skin and bones and dice or pull into bite-size pieces. Strain the poaching liquid.
Warm the stock or poaching liquid in a medium size pot.
Heat a large, deep skillet with a lid over medium heat with the butter and melt. When it foams, add the pasta and toast until deep golden. Remove to a plate and add the olive oil to the skillet. Add the shallots and garlic and stir, 3-5 minutes, to soften. Add the rice and stir for 1 minute; add salt and pepper.
Add half a cup of stock to a food processor or high-powered blender and puree the spinach and parsley with the lemon zest and juice, salt and pepper.
Add the remaining stock and pasta to the rice; cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the chicken, spinach-parsley puree and a little freshly grated nutmeg and cover. Cook for 3 minutes longer, then turn off the heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Add the nuts and fluff with a fork; serve.