Chicken Stuffed with Rice (Morgh-e tu por ba berenj)
2 small frying chickens, about 6 to 7 pounds, or 2 Cornish game hens
2 teaspoons salt
2 large onions, peeled and thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1/4 cup butter or oil
1/2 cup rice, cleaned and washed
1/2 tablespoon advieh (Persian spice mix)
1 teaspoon dried rose petals
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground
1 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup dried barberries, cleaned and drained, or 1/4 cup dried tart cherries
2 tablespoons slivered almonds
2 tablespoons raisins
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon ground saffron dissolved in 1 tablespoon hot water
1/4 cup butter or olive oil
Lime slices for garnish
This also makes an excellent stuffing for turkey.
1. Clean and wash chickens or hens and rub with 1 teaspoon salt.
2. Brown onions and garlic in a skillet in 1/4 cup butter or oil. Add rice, advieh, rose petals, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Add chicken stock; cover and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.
4. Add barberries, almonds, raisins, and lime juice.
5. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Stuff chicken with the rice mixture and pin or sew the cavities shut.
6. Place chicken in a greased ovenproof dish or roasting pan, paint with melted butter and cover with aluminum foil.
7. Place pan in the oven and roast for 1 hour. Remove chicken from the oven and paint it with a mixture of saffron water and butter. Cook uncovered for another hour, or until the meat separates easily from the bone. Baste occasionally with the pan juices.
8. Serve the chicken in the baking dish or on a serving platter. Garnish with lime slices and accompany with bread, raw vegetables, fresh herbs, and salad. Nush-e Jan!
Variation: You may use wild rice in place of white rice. Follow directions on the package.
Recipe excerpted from New Food of Life: Ancient Persian & Modern Iranian Cooking & Ceremonies or Silk Road Cooking: a Vegetarian Journey, copyright Najmieh Batmanglij.