2-3 saffron strands, dissolved in 1 tbsp
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2.25 cups Basmati rice, soaked in salted
water for 2 hours
3 oz zereshk
salt and ground black pepper
herb salad, to serve
Melt 2/3 of the butter in a casserole and
fry the chicken and onion for 4-5 minutes, until the onion is softened
and the chicken browned. Add the stock and salt and pepper, bring the
boil and then simmer for 45 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked and
the stock reduced by half. Skin and bone the chicken. Cut the flesh into
large pieces and place in a large bowl. Reserve the stock.
Beat the eggs
and blend with the yogurt. Add the saffron water and cinnamon and season
with salt and pepper. Pour over the chicken and leave to marinate on one
side for up to 2 hours. Drain the rice and then boil in salted water for
5 minutes, reduce the heat and simmer very gently for 10 minutes, until
half cooked. Drain and rinse in warm water. Transfer the chicken from
the yogurt mixture to a dish and mix half the rice into the yogurt.
oven to 160C / 325F / Gas 3 and grease a large 10cm / 4 inch deep
ovenproof dish. Place the rice and yogurt mixture in the bottom of the
dish, arrange the chicken pieces in a layer in top and then add the
plain rice. Warm the zereshk thoroughly, then sprinkle over. Mix the
remaining butter with the chicken stock and pour over the rice. Cover
tightly with foil and cook in the oven for 35-45 minutes. Leave the dish
to cool for a few minutes. Place on a cold, damp dish towel which will
help lift the rice from the base of the dish, then run a knife around
the inside edge of the dish. Place a large flat plate over the dish and
turn out. You should have a rice "cake" which can be cut into wedges.
Serve hot with a herb salad.
This is flavored with zereshk, small dried
berries available from Middle Eastern stores.