Chicken Pilau

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Heather says:

This is one dish you won’t catch me trying to pronounce. Although I grew up here in the Lowcountry, I was not exposed to this dish until adulthood. As far as I am concerned, that is a crying shame. This meal is tasty, flexible and freezes well if stored properly. Feel free to change proportions to stretch your dollars. We like it nice and meaty, but if your wallet is feeling the pinch increase the rice and liquid proportionally, I’ll never tell. As written, I find this is a great meal to surprise a new mom. It isn’t heavily spiced (this is of concern for new breastfeeders) and reheats well.

Sausage is an acceptable substitute or addition to the bacon, use bulk or link.

Chicken Pilau – recipe can be halved

  • 6 lbs baked chicken (bone-in)
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 2 med onions
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 2 ribs celery,chopped
  • 2 cups uncooked rice
  • 2 14.5oz cans diced tomatoes (can substitute fresh in season)
  • 4 cups chicken broth, stock, or bouillon
  • salt/pepper to taste


I began with two whole chickens, cut them up, reserving the necks and backs for homemade stock, and baked them at 400F for 45 minutes.

While the chicken is cooking fry 4 slices of bacon in a large stock pot.

Dice the onions, celery, and bell pepper. Once crisp, remove the bacon from the pot and allow to drain on a paper towel. Reserve just enough drippings to coat the bottom of the pot. Add the onions, celery, and bell pepper, saute over medium heat until the onion is soft. Crumble the bacon and add to the vegetables.

Add the rice and continue to cook, stirring frequently until the rice is golden. Add salt and pepper to taste. I omit salt unless using homemade stock, as bouillon and broth are typically high in sodium. Add the broth and tomatoes, adjust the temperature to keep at a simmer and cover tightly for 25 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed.

While the rice and vegetables are simmering remove the skin from the baked chicken. Shred into bite size pieces. When the rice is cooked stir in the chicken, heat through, and serve.
There should be plenty of leftovers!

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6 thoughts on “Chicken Pilau”

  1. Heather, I tried this a while back, and hubby and I were…nonplussed. I don’t know what I did wrong, but it was really bland. Could the fact that I used turkey bacon make that much of a difference? We use turkey bacon exclusively, but it obviously doesn’t make the kind of drippings that regular bacon does (which is why we like it)…maybe that ruined the entire dish? It *sounded* good…but as it was, we didn’t enjoy it enough to bother making it again.

  2. Since fat carries flavor it is quite possible. Turkey bacon has 65% less fat, it definitely has its uses though. I would increase the onion / pepper mixture and don’t be scared to add maybe a jalepeno. My husband and I love this dish with hot sauce, anyhow.

  3. My husband's family is from Trinidad – it's "pay-low" (like "ow!") and it's awesome! We actually use completely different ingredients with ours – chicken, rice, olives, raisins, celery and onions – but with the prep work done it's pretty easy to make and lasts a good few days. We pressure cook our chicken, shred it and throw it in the pot on the stove with everything else. We actually use the liquid from cooking the chicken. if you pressure cook it the day before, you can skim off the fat and it's terrific. Then we add the rice at the end and throw the whole thing in the oven for 30 minutes, couldn't be any easier. I didn't know about freezing it, though. We'll have to try that sometime. Thanks for the tip on that!

    sari 🙂
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