The name for this sabbath dish (pictured below) comes from the Arabic tabayit which means to stay overnight — how long t’beet used to be cooked.
Serves 6 to 8
1.5/2kg chicken, preferably a free range mature boiler or free range roaster, skin on
2-3 pieces of cut lemon
White Basmati rice (700ml level in a measuring jug)
3 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 tomato, finely chopped
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 cube chicken stock or tsp Swiss Marigold bouillon powder
4 whole cardamom pods
1 tbsp salt
2 - 3 tbsp Basmati rice
1 large tomato, diced
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp ground cardamom
2 tbsp ground cinnamon
Salt and pepper
Wash and soak both quantities of rice in 2 separate bowls for 30 minutes.
Wash the whole chicken. Cut off the tip of the parson’s nose and pat dry.
Rub the chicken inside and out with a piece of cut lemon to clean it and remove unpleasant odours.
Combine the stuffing ingredients and stuff the chicken, then close the opening with a skewer (loosely stuff the inside as the rice will double in size).
In a heavy-bottomed pot, heat the oil and sauté the onion until limp and transparent. Stir in the chopped tomato and salt and cook for 2 more minutes.
Pop the chicken in the pot (with no liquid) and cook covered, on medium heat, turning occasionally, until golden all over. (If necessary, add a few drops of water.) This will take about 25 minutes. Liberally prick the chicken to allow the juices to flow out.
Pour boiling water over the whole chicken, covering half of it. Stir in the tomato paste, the stock, cardamom pods and salt. Cook for about 1 hour (a little more if it is a boiler).
Remove the chicken from the pan. Measure the remaining liquid and top it up to 700ml if less.
Return the chicken to the pot. Bring to the boil and add the rice around the chicken. Return to the boil again. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 20 to 25 minutes.
Now turn the heat to a minimum and with a heat diffuser beneath the pan cook for another 20 minutes.
Either transfer the pot to a preheated oven at 80°C and let it slow cook for another 2 hours or more or cook on the stove.
Before serving immerse the bottom of the pot in cold water.This will make it easier to detach the bottom crust.
Spoon the t’beet into a large serving dish, with the chicken in the middle and the crust on top.