Friday, May 12, 2017

Chicken with Barberries, Yogurt and Orange Peel

This is an Iranian recipe from the cookbook, World on a Plate by Mina Holland.  We used the book for one of our Books for Cooks meetings.  For the most part we didn't particularly like the book.  I made this dish and made a number of adaptations.  We all thought it was very good.  It was supposed to be served with chelow rice which seemed too complicated and I substituted some naan that I bought at Whole Foods.

Holland said the barbarries can be purchased at Middle Eastern grocers, however Madison doesn't have any Middle Eastern grocery stores.  I ordered mine from Amazon.  

1 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup olive or sunflower oil
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
sea salt
2# boneless, skinless chicken thighs
Penzey's pepper
2 large oranges
1-2 large pinches of saffron
1/4 - 1/3 cup of dried barberries, rehydrated
1/4 cup of sliced toasted almond to garnish (optional)  actually I forgot to add the nuts

Strain the yogurt through a strainer lined with a paper towel for several hours so that it is very thick.
Peel the oranges with a potato peeler, taking care not include any of the white pith.  Cut the peel into matchstick strips.  In a small pan of boiling water, simmer the strips for 3 minutes.  Drain the strips and set aside.  Retain the water.  I used some of this water to rehydrate the barbarries for 10 minutes; longer is OK too.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the onions with a pinch of salt until golden 10-15 minutes.  Set aside.  Next brown the chicken.  Combine the onions and chicken; use some of the orange flavored water, cover the pan and simmer until the chicken is tender.  It will take about 20 minutes.
Crumble the saffron and soak it in 1/4 cup of the orange water or plain water for 10 minutes.
Next add the saffron water, orange peel, and barberries to the chicken and simmer uncovered for about 10 minutes.  Test for seasoning.  Remove the chicken from the pan and keep warm.  Keep the sauce on a low heat and add the thickened yogurt.  Whisk into the sauce.  Return the chicken to the pan; warm through.  Place on a platter; pour the sauce over the chicken; garnish with the almonds.