tbeet chicken and rice Iraqi shabbat

Iraqi Chicken Stuffed With Spiced Rice Recipe

A slow-cooked comfort dish perfect for Shabbat lunch.

Iraqi Jews serve rice-stuffed chicken, called t’beet, for Shabbat lunch. Like cholent and hamin, the dish is cooked at a very low temperature for many hours (typically overnight) until the chicken is falling off the bone and the spiced tomato rice is deeply infused with savory flavor. It also makes lovely picnic fare.

The dish is seasoned with baharat, a multipurpose spice blend used across the Middle East, including in Israel, to flavor meat, vegetable, and rice dishes, as well as soups and stews. Like most blends, the recipe for baharat varies from cook to cook, but typically includes some combination of black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, cumin, and coriander.

Note: This recipe yields ½ cup baharat spice mix. It can be stored in a container with a tight-fitting lid for up to three months.

Reprinted with permission from “The Jewish Cookbook,” by Leah Koenig (Phaidon Press, 2019).

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Iraqi Chicken Stuffed With Spiced Rice Recipe

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4 from 1 review

Iraqi Jews serve rice-stuffed chicken, called t’beet, for Shabbat lunch. It’s cooked at a very low temperature for many hours (typically overnight) until the chicken is falling off the bone and the spiced tomato rice is deeply infused with savory flavor.

  • Total Time: 10 hours 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6

Ingredients

For the chicken and spiced rice:

  • 2 Tbsp + 1 tsp kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 5 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste (purée)
  • 1 ½ Tbsp baharat (recipe below)
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
  • 1 can (14 ½ oz) diced (chopped) tomatoes, drained
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 whole chicken (about 4 lb), patted dry
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock

For the baharat:

  • 2 Tbsp sweet paprika
  • 1 ½ Tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 ½ tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg

Instructions

  1. Make the baharat. Combine the paprika, cumin, cinnamon, coriander, allspice, cardamom, black pepper, cloves and nutmeg and shake or stir to combine.
  2. Fill a large saucepan with water and 2 Tbsp of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, add the rice, and cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until the rice is partway cooked, 5–7 minutes. Drain and immediately rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process, then set aside to cool.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together 2 Tbsp of oil, the tomato paste, baharat, 1 tsp salt, and pepper. Add the parboiled rice, drained tomatoes, onion and garlic and stir to fully combine. Spoon as much of the rice and tomato mixture into the cavity of the chicken as possible, then tie the legs together with kitchen twine. (Some cooks sew up the cavity with a needle and kitchen thread, but that step is not necessary.)
  4. Preheat the oven to 225°F.
  5. In a Dutch oven (casserole) or other large ovenproof pot with a lid, heat the remaining 3 Tbsp oil over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the stuffed chicken all over with a little salt and pepper, then add to the Dutch oven and sear, carefully turning as necessary, until browned on all sides, 10–15 minutes. Spoon the remaining rice and tomato mixture around the chicken, pour in the stock, and bring to a boil.
  6. Cover, transfer to the oven, and cook until the chicken is very tender and the rice is beginning to brown, 8–10 hours. Serve hot or warm.

Notes

This recipe yields ½ cup baharat spice mix. It can be stored in a container with a tight-fitting lid for up to three months.

  • Author: Leah Koenig
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 hours 25 minutes
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Slow-Cooking
  • Cuisine: Mizrahi

12 comments

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  • Ruth

    This recipe sounds divine, but can it be made in a slow cooker instead of in the oven?

    • The Nosher

      Hi Ruth, we haven’t tested this recipe in a crockpot, but please let us know how it turns out if you try it.

  • Janet (Gigi)

    Love that you are promoting the delicious and healthy cuisine of Middle Eastern Jewry. The array of spices in both Middle Eastern and North African Jewish cuisine sets it apart from traditional European dishes.
    Inasmuch as the Middle Eastern cuisine is always an extraordinary treat, it is the Jewish-Moroccan dishes that I am particularly partial to. Moroccan cuisine has an unbelievable variety of delicious cooked and raw salads which make up the first course. This follows with a serving of fish (another meal in itself), which then finally brings the diner – by now graduated to the status of an epicurean – to the entree, a meat or chicken dish accompanied by vegetables. This is dining! Feasts that stimulate the senses!

  • Lois

    Just wondering if the dish could be made in a crockpot on low for 8-10 hours.

    Thanks

    • The Nosher

      Hi Lois, we haven’t tested this recipe in a crockpot, but please let us know how it turns out if you try it.

    • The Nosher

      Hi Pesha, we haven’t tested this recipe in a crockpot, but please let us know how it turns out if you try it.

  • Mirush

    Looks like a great recipe. It is probably a good idea to provide instructions for slow cooker as that is how many people do slow cooking!

  • Sue

    If I use chicken parts instead of a whole chicken will the roasting time be the same or shorter? And, can I just lay the pieces in with the rice and liquid?

    • The Nosher

      Hi Martha, you could use a spatchcocked chicken, though as this dish cooks low and slow it is not preferable to a whole chicken.

  • Rivka

    I made this in a crockpot on low for eight hours. The chicken came out great, really moist and tender. The rice came out kind of porridgey. I don’t mind a porridgey rice, but those who do might want to reduce the parboil time or skip parboiling altogether.






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