With offices in London, Beirut and Dubai, French-Lebanese architect Annabel Karim Kassar founded her practice in 1994 and has since completed major projects around the world. In particular, she is credited with breathing new life into the Middle East’s creative capital, Beirut. In the mid-90s, Annabel was commissioned as joint winner of a competition to redesign the Beirut Souks, the commercial heart of the city that was completely destroyed by fifteen years of civil war. She is also responsible for creating some of Beirut’s top hospitality destinations.
Alongside her architectural practice, Annabel has her own furniture lines and recently collaborated with Moroso to create the Salon Nanà collection. Drawing inspiration from the literary circles of the late-19th century (the name is inspired by the book ‘Nana’ by Emile Zola, released in 1880), the collection features sofas with a generous silhouette, a low traditional mattress used in oriental houses (‘Mezze’) and a series of side tables inspired by Moroccan traditions.
Annabel sat down with Mobilia to share one of her favourite recipes for Lebanese chicken with rice. A dish that can be served at any occasion, this heartwarming recipe is perfect for family get-togethers, parties or holiday dinners.
450g ground beef
1 ½ cups white rice
3 tbsp butter
2 tsp 7 Spices (a well-known blend used in Lebanon)
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
¼ cup slivered almonds or almond halves
¼ cup halved cashews
3 tbsp pine nuts
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 whole chicken or chicken breasts/thighs
2 bay leaves
½ small onion
2 tsp salt
1 tsp whole cloves
- Begin by preparing your chicken. Remove the neck and giblets and pat the chicken dry with paper towels. In a large pot, place the whole chicken and pour enough water to cover it completely. Season with salt and pepper.
- When the chicken comes to a boil, skim any fat that rises to the top. Peel and cut the small onion in half and place in the pot along with the bay leaves and cloves. Cover halfway and let simmer on medium-high heat until the chicken is cooked through, about one hour.
- Remove the cooked chicken and set aside to cool. Once is has cooled enough to handle, shred the breasts into course chunks. (Reserve stock to be used later)
- Place the cooked chicken legs and wings on a baking pan and grill until golden brown and crispy on top. (This step is optional, you can shred these parts of the chicken with the breast if you prefer).
5. Add the vegetable oil to the pan and heat for 1-2 minutes on medium-high. Add the almonds and cook for 2-3 minutes, constantly mixing until golden brown. Repeat with remaining nuts and set aside.
6. Rinse the rice 3 times or until the water runs clear. Drain the water and set aside.
7. In a medium pot, add the ground beef and cook on medium heat until fully browned. Add the butter, salt, pepper, 7 spices and ground cinnamon and sauté for a few minutes.
8. Add the washed rice in with the ground beef mixture and mix well. Measure 2 and a quarter cups of the fresh chicken stock you made earlier, and pour into the pot of rice. Cook on medium-high heat until the rice comes to a boil and then, lower the heat to medium-low and cover with a lid. Cook for 15 minutes until all the stock is absorbed.
9. Empty the rice into a large serving platter. Sprinkle the nuts on top and shredded chicken. Serve with a side salad like fattoush or plain yogurt.