Low Country Chicken Pilau

Pilau, or Purloo as the Gullah call it, is one of the classic chicken and rice casseroles of the South Carolina Low Country.

Yield: 4 servings

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divideed
  • 1 chicken, cut up
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 4 strips pork side meat or bacon, diced
  • 1/2 cup celery, diced
  • 2 cups long-grain white rice
  • salt to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup tomatoes, peeled and chopped

In a Dutch oven over medium heat, brown the chicken in two tablespoons of the oil.  Remove chicken and set aside. Add half of the onions to the drippings, and sauté until tender.

Place the chicken back into the pot, and simmer in one cup of the chicken broth until the chicken is tender, about 40 minutes.

Remove chicken, pour off and reserve the pan juices. Allow chicken to cool, skin and debone.

Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and the salt pork or bacon and sauté until brown. Add the remaining onion and celery and sauté until tender.

Add the rice and sauté, until it looks opaque. Add the salt and pepper, pour the reserved pan juices back into the pot and add the tomatoes. Cover and simmer until the rice is tender, adding more chicken broth if needed. Add the chicken pieces to the rice; heat 2 to 3 minutes. Adjust seasoning and serve.

2 Comments so far »

  1. Cricket said

    October 11 2012 @ 3:45 pm

    If you’re not making it like this, you’re doing it wrong! Only exception I make is I add spicy breakfast sausage instead of bacon! Good on ya mate!

  2. Leslie said

    April 8 2016 @ 4:22 pm

    I grew up in Charleston, SC, and my mom makes this all the time. The only thing she does not use is the tomatoes. To me, that just seems wrong somehow. Trust me, it’s delicious without the tomatoes.

    she also adds bay leaves, carrot and celery (in large chunks) to the water when cooking the chicken.

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