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Middle Eastern-style Grilled Chicken

The use of sumac makes this chicken Middle Eastern style. It is pictured here with an Armenian rice pilaf. I include the pilaf recipe because it is so delicious. The commercial version of the pilaf became popular years ago, and is still available, under the name Rice-A-Roni (“the San Francisco treat”), but I prefer it made from scratch.

2 chicken half breasts, skinless and boneless

Olive oil for brushing

Creole Seasoned Salt to taste

Powdered sumac to taste

Prepare the pilaf (recipe follows) or cheat and buy Rice-A-Roni. Place the chicken between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound to a uniform thickness of 1/2 inch. Prepare the grill for hot, direct cooking. Brush the chicken with oil and season to taste. Grill the chicken for 4 minutes per side directly over the fire, then 2 more minutes on the first side.

Serve with the pilaf.

Armenian Rice Pilaf

1 cup long-grain rice

3 tablespoons butter

3/4 cup very thin pasta (vermicelli)

2 cups chicken broth

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Cover the rice with hot tap water and let sit covered for 10 minutes. Drain the rice. Melt the butter in a 3-quart sauce pan, add the pasta, and cook for 4 to 6 minutes over medium heat until golden brown, stirring almost constantly. Add the rice and cook until the edges turn translucent. Add the broth, salt, and pepper and increase the heat to high. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 10 minutes until the liquid is absorbed. Set off the heat, cover with a dish towel, return the lid, and let stand for 10 minutes. This sounds involved, but is well worth the effort.


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