Persian Roasted Chicken with Cherry-Saffron Rice

Please note: my broiler is not fit for human use. Yours will look nicer because you’ll broil it. If you can’t, however, rest assured that yours will taste lovely, just as mine did. This recipe uses an unusual-to-me rice cooking method that works well with my gas stove/crappy pots situation (otherwise I use the rice cooker, that thing is my BFF) and then finishes the rice in the oven with delicious flavorings. The chicken is marinated for an hour; the whole deal takes about two hours total, including some dishwashing. For a fancy-seeming meal, it’s pretty simple!

Roommates appreciated this one quite a bit.

Persian Roasted Chicken with Dried Cherry-Saffron Rice, adapted (a tiny bit) from Food & Wine

4-5 chicken leg quarters, split
1 small onion, chopped fine
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 c. olive oil
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. saffron, crumbled, divided
1 tsp. salt
1/2 c. water
1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 c. basmati rice
5 oz. (1 stick plus 2 Tbsp.) butter
2 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 c. dried sour cherries, chopped
1/4 c. slivered almonds

Mix the onion, lemon juice, olive oil, cumin, 1/4 tsp. of the saffron, salt and black pepper in a large zip-top bag. Seal and squish until everything is pleasantly yellowy. Add the chicken and squish some more, until all the chicken is also pleasant yellow. Let it sit for an hour (at room temp if you’re brave). Near the end of the hour, preheat the oven to 375F. When the oven is heated, scrape the marinade off the chicken (you can do this through the bag!) and put it in a metal roasting pan. Add 1/2 c. of water, cover the pan with foil, and put in the oven for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, put a big ol’ pot of salted water on to boil, like you’re making pasta. Once it’s rolling add the basmati and boil for about 10 minutes, until it’s a little less cooked than you want to eat. While that’s boiling, melt the butter in a small skillet or saucepan, adding the cherries, sugar and almonds and stirring. Let that mixture bubble away to dissolve the sugar a bit. Also, set the remaining saffron to soak in a tablespoon of screamingly hot water. Also also, butter a 2-qt. casserole dish, or possibly your trusty pie pan.

When the rice is cooked to your liking, drain it, shake out the excess water and return it to the pan. Stir in the saffron water. (Mine was much less yellow than usual this time. I blame, I dunno, gnomes.) Plop about a third of the rice into the pie pan and make an even layer of it. Pour on half the cherries and almonds. Follow with another third of the rice and another half the cherry/almond mixture. Top with the rest of the rice, pour the remaining butter and sugar over it, and cover the dish with foil. Put it in the oven and remove the foil from the chicken. Bake the pair of them for 20-25 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the rice is fluffy and delicious.

Pull the rice and chicken and turn the oven to broil. Pop the chicken under the broiler for 2-3 minutes so the skin gets nice and crispy and brown. Serve with rice and a nice salad.

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~ by iliadawry on 18 September 2012.

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