- zest of 3 large oranges, cut into ¼-inch-wide strips
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 chicken (3½ pounds), well rinsed, patted dry, and cut into serving size pieces
- 3 large onions, sliced into rings
- ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
- small pinch of cinnamon
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 4¾ cups water
- 6 tablespoons (¾ stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 2 cups long-grain rice
- ¾ cup sugar
- ⅔ cup slivered almonds
- ⅔ cup shelled pistachio nuts
- Blanch the orange zest in boiling water for 1 minute.
- Rinse under cold running water and blanch once more for 1 minute.
- Place in a colander to drain and set aside.
- Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large, heavy casserole.
- Add the chicken pieces, a few at a time, turning them to brown evenly on all sides.
- Remove the chicken pieces to a heated platter and drain off all but 2 tablespoons of oil.
- Add the onions to the casserole and saute until light golden, about 10 minutes.
- Stir in the turmeric, cinnamon, and salt and pepper, then return the chicken to the casserole.
- Add 4 cups of the water and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the chicken is almost tender, about 30 minutes.
- Turn the heat up to high and let the liquid boil, uncovered, for 1 minute.
- Stir in 4 tablespoons of the butter and the rice, reduce the heat to low, and simmer, covered, until the rice is tender and all the liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the syrup.
- Combine the sugar and the remaining ¾ cup water in a small saucepan.
- Bring to a boil, stirring, then reduce the heat to low and cook until the sugar is completely dissolved, about 5 minutes.
- Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in a medium-size skillet over medium low heat.
- Add the nuts and the orange zest and stir for 4 to 5 minutes.
- Add the syrup and cook until the syrup is somewhat reduced, about 10 minutes.
- To serve, spoon the rice and the chicken onto a decorative serving platter and mix with two-thirds of the nut mixture.
- Scatter the rest of the mixture over the pilaf.