Chicken with Rice and Cherries

An exotic unusual combination tastes, Chicken with Cherries is an adaptation of a traditional Irani dish. It is a meal

in itself and need be accompanied only by a tossed mixed salad. A medium sweet white wine, such as Graves or well chilled

rose, would go well with this dish.

1 x 3 lb. chicken, cut into 8 serving pieces

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

4 tablespoons olive oil

2 medium-sized onions, finely sliced

3 fl. oz. chicken stock’

12- lb. fresh black Morello cherries or 2 lb. canned, stoned Morello cherries, drained 2 oz. sugar

2 tablespoons water 12 oz. long-grain rice, washed and drained

4 oz. butter, melted

½ teaspoon crushed saffron threads, dissolved in

1 tablespoon hot water

On a chopping board, sprinkle the chicken pieces with the salt and pepper and set aside.

In a large frying-pan heat the oil over moderate heat. When it is hot, add the chicken pieces, a few at a time. Cook them

for 5 to 7 minutes on each side or until they are evenly and thoroughly browned. As the chicken is browned, transfer it to

a heated plate. Add the onions to the oil remaining in the frying-pan and fry them for 6 minutes, or until they begin to

brown slightly.

Return the chicken pieces to the frying-pan, pour in the chicken stock and bring the mixture to the boil. Reduce the heat

to low, cover the pan and cook the chicken for 30 minutes, or until it is tender when pierced with a fork.

While the chicken is simmering, com-bine the cherries, sugar and water together in a medium-sized saucepan over low heat.

Stirring frequently, simmer un-covered for 5 minutes or until the sugar has dissolved and the cherries have given off most

of their liquid. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.

In a large saucepan, bring 1

½ pints of water to the boil over moderate heat. Add the rice and boil for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and drain the rice through a strainer. Set aside.

Transfer the chicken pieces to a plate, reserving about

2 tablespoons of the cooking liquid and the browned onion slices.

Put the reserved cooking liquid and half the melted butter into a large flameproof casserole and mix well. Place half of the rice on the bottom of the casserole, spreading it out evenly and cook over

moderate heat for 8 minutes. Remove the casserole from the heat. Add the chicken pieces, onions and about half of the cherries. Arrange the remainder of the rice on top of the mixture. Pour in the remaining cherries with their cooking

liquid, cover the casserole and simmer over very low heat for 15 minutes or until the rice is tender.

Remove about 4 ounces of the cooked rice from the casserole and place it in a medium-sized bowl. Add the remainder of the melted butter and the dissolved saffron threads to the rice, stirring until the mixture is bright yellow. Set aside.

Arrange half of the remaining rice in the casserole on the base of a serving platter and place the chicken pieces with the onions on top. Cover the meat with the cherries and the remaining rice and sprinkle the saffron rice on top and around the edge.

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