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Playing Pilaf with Spinach and Garlic


  • 4 to 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 poached chicken: (optional)
  • 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 to 8 peppercorns
  • 1 lemon, sliced


Serves: 6 servings


(* If poaching your own chicken: Place chicken in a pot with the poaching ingredients. Add enough water to just cover chicken. Place over medium-high heat and bring to low rolling boil. Season water with salt, reduce heat and poach 45-60 minutes, turning once. Cool in the poaching liquid to room temp. Remove chicken from skin and bones and dice or pull into bite-sized pieces. Strain poaching liquid.) 

Warm stock or poaching liquid in a medium pot. 

Heat a large, deep skillet with a lid over medium heat with butter and melt. When it foams, add pasta and toast until deep golden. Remove to plate and add olive oil to skillet. Add shallots and garlic, and stir 3-5 minutes to soften. Add rice and stir 1 minute; add salt and pepper. 

Add half a cup of stock to a food processor or high-powered blender and purée spinach and parsley with lemon zest and juice, salt and pepper. 
Add remaining stock and pasta to rice, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Add chicken, spinach-parsley purée, a little freshly grated nutmeg and cover. Cook 3 minutes longer then turn off heat and let stand 5 minutes. Add nuts and fluff with a fork; serve.