Chicken, rice and exotic spices, such as Aleppo pepper, star anise and turmeric come together perfectly in this easy, inexpensive and highly-flavorful one-pot meal.
If desired, rub the chicken with the ras el hanout and let marinate for an hour or two (or even overnight) in the refrigerator.
To cook the chicken, first preheat the oven to 350°F (175° C).
Next, heat a large, oven-proof pot (with a lid) over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the oil, followed by the chicken. Brown the chicken on all sides. Cook it until it is almost done and then transfer it to a plate.
Finely dice the onions and then add them to the pot. Once the onions are translucent and have browned, add the rice. Sauté the rice for a few minutes until it is translucent around the edges.
Once the rice is translucent around the edges, add the spices and sauté for a few minutes to bring out their aroma.
Next, add the raisins, bay leaf and salt. Stir gently to combine.
Add the stock and stir to combine. Place the drumsticks back into the pot, making sure that they are pushed down into the liquid and rice. Bring the dish to a simmer. Then turn off the heat, cover and place into the oven. Cook for approximately 20 minutes or according to the instructions for the rice.
While the pilaf is cooking, toast the nuts until golden brown. Once done, set aside to cool.
Check the rice to see that all of the water has been absorbed and that the rice is cooked through and tender.
Once the rice is done, let the dish rest for at least 10 to 20 minutes.
To serve the dish, fluff the rice and garnish with freshly chopped cilantro and toasted nuts, if using. Taste for seasoning.
**The amount of stock needed will depend on the type of rice used, so check the packaging for the appropriate ratio of liquid to rice.