For each Eid / Bayram, one of my aunts made "the traditional" version of this dish, as is common among Balkan immigrants in Thrace in northwestern Turkey: pieces of lamb cooked in white rice. Over time, chicken was replaced by lamb as the number of picky children in the family increased. I tried very hard not to eat the dish just because it was mixed and oh so uninteresting. white rice and slightly dry chicken. I experimented with this dish when the main chef at my favorite restaurant "esnaf lokantasi" (branded restaurant) in Ankara shared his tips on keeping the chicken moist and the dish interesting. I think I did it (even my picky 7 year old compliments me for doing this) and this version is absolutely delicious, but you can create your own alternate rice with other grains or chicken with lamb. I also like bulgur or buckwheat, but this version is the kids favorite in our house.
6-8 chicken drumsticks (or any part)
1 bay leaf
3 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp peppercorns
2 tbsp olive oil + 2 tbsp butter
1 onion, finely chopped ~ 1/2 cup
2 cups of white rice
1 cup of grated tomatoes
2 tomatoes, cut into 4 slices
~ 8 shishito peppers (or any kind you want)
1 teaspoon dried mint (optional)
1 tbsp or more yogurt
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 teaspoon paprika
-Put chicken drumstick / pieces in a large saucepan lid with water 2 inches across. Add bay leaf, cloves of garlic, peppercorn, parsley, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Cook for 30-35 minutes until the chicken is cooked. Don't throw away the water. Drain and save.
– Heat the olive oil and butter in a cast iron or steel saucepan with a wide bottom (which can go into the oven)r. (The one in the picture 11.75 "diameter, 2.13" depth)
– Add onions and cook on medium heat for approx. 7-9 minutes until soft.
– Add grated tomatoes and cook for 3 minutes.
– Add rice, stir for a few minutes until tomatoes are soaked.
– Add 4 cups of chicken broth that you saved. Add dried mint, salt and black pepper and wait for it to start boiling.
– As soon as it starts to bubble, turn it off. Place drumsticks in any pattern.
– Place peppers and tomato slices between the pieces of chicken.
– Mix the yogurt, tomato paste and paprika. Spread this mixture on drum sticks with a brush. This will help them have a nice color and keep them deliciously moist.
-Bake in a preheated oven at 380F for ~ 30 minutes until rice absorbs all of the water.
– Take it out and let it rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.