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Chicken Pilaf with Cilantro

If you’re looking for a simple, succulent, silky addition to any meal, this is it. A true classic from Dallas, TX, originally chronicled in The Great American Cookbook, by Clementine Paddleford. This is my take on Mrs. A. L. DeGuire’s chicken pilaf, a truly gorgeous dish.

While some may argue that pilaf is not an American creation, this recipe comes from A Texan family of mixed French, Armenian and Greek descent. Both second-generation Americans. This recipe, like most American dishes, is an adaptation from their family heritage. We are, after all, a country of mixed cultures. Chicken pilaf is a perfect example of the mix of influences that makes our cuisine, well, ours.

Preparation in this case is extremely simple. At its core this is simply rice steamed in chicken broth with a touch of lemon juice and butter. The addition of cilantro was ours, because we had a bunch of it to use up, and because my family adores it. It adds just a bit more flavor and adds a pop of color to the rice..

While this could probably be prepared in a rice cooker as well, I wouldn’t recommend doing so. The recipe calls for a few initial stirs on the rice, and those few minutes of stirring are what gives this dish its remarkably silky texture. You aren’t going to get that silkiness in a rice cooker. Also, if you happen to have some fresh chicken broth on hand, the experience will be that much more sublime.

Chicken Pilaf with Cilantro
Yield: 4 servings

Chicken Pilaf with Cilantro

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

This chicken pilaf recipe is a creamy, luscious taste of Texas. Adapted from a recipe originally printed in The Great American Cookbook - 500 Time tested recipes from every state, by Clementine Paddleford, a cookbook I highly recommend.


  • 3 cups chicken broth (or stock, whichever you have on hand.)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup uncooked white or brown rice
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Butter, optional (OK, not really. Use the butter!)


  1. In a large stockpot, bring the chicken broth to a boil over medium-high heat; season water with salt and pepper. Stir in the rice and continue stirring for a couple of minutes.
  2. Reduce the heat to very low, cover and cook until the rice is tender (about 18 minutes.) about halfway through cooking, add the lemon juice. do not stir the rice; just slowly cook until all of the rice is absorbed and each rice grain stands on its own.
  3. When done, allow to stand off the heat for 5 minutes. Add the cilantro and fluff with a fork. Stir in a little butter before serving if desired. (Do it. trust me.)

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 92Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 11mgSodium: 791mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 2g

What I would have done differently had I thought of it at the time:

I actually under cooked this slightly. partially because I’m learning to use our new kitchen and partially because I didn’t use the right pot for the job. Be sure you’re using a heavy-bottomed stock pot for the job and you’ll be just fine.

Links to other recipes like this:

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