IRAQI OVERNIGHT-BAKED CHICKEN WITH ROSE PETALS

House and Leisure Food - - HL FOOD -

Recipe Phillippa Cheifitz

for the stuff­ing

1T salt in some hot wa­ter 2 cups long-grain rice 2T (heaped) tomato paste 2 large toma­toes, skinned,

seeded and diced 1t (heaped) ground all­spice ¾t ground car­damom salt and pep­per to taste 12 rose petals, dried and

un­sprayed 250g stew­ing beef, diced small ½ cup sun­flower oil

1×2kg chicken 2 onions, chopped ⅛t turmeric 4 cups boiling wa­ter salt and milled pep­per

Serves 8-10

To make the stuff­ing, rinse the rice and soak for sev­eral hours in enough salted hot wa­ter to cover it. Drain one cup of the soaked rice and mix with one ta­ble­spoon of tomato paste and two ta­ble­spoons of diced tomato. Add the all­spice, a quar­ter of a tea­spoon of the car­damom and sea­son­ing to taste. Re­move any green from the rose petals and crum­ble six of them into the bowl. Mix in the beef and one ta­ble­spoon of the oil.

Pre­heat the oven to 200°C. Wash the chicken and, us­ing a sharp knife, re­move the wings, then care­fully peel the skin back from the en­tire chicken and re­serve it. Re­move the legs and thighs from the chicken and cut into two pieces each. Cut out the back­bone of the chicken and wash the chicken again. Open up the chicken skin to make a pouch and fill loosely with the stuff­ing, then sew it closed with some string.

Heat the re­main­ing oil in a heavy fire-proof casse­role and add the onions, sautéing un­til translu­cent. Add the re­main­ing diced toma­toes, sea­son­ing to taste, and the turmeric. Then add the chicken pieces and the stuffed pouch and sauté them in the sauce on all sides. Pour in the four cups of boiling wa­ter and add the re­main­ing tomato paste, the rest of the car­damom and some sea­son­ing. Sim­mer, cov­ered, for 30 min­utes. Re­move the chicken pieces and pouch, and sea­son.

Add the re­main­ing rose petals and the rest of the rice to the boiling broth. Cook un­cov­ered for 10 min­utes, or un­til the liq­uid is ab­sorbed, stir­ring oc­ca­sion­ally so that the rice doesn’t stick.

Place the chicken pieces and the pouch on the bed of just-boiled rice, cov­ered, and trans­fer to the oven. Bake for 30 to 40 min­utes, then re­duce the heat to 120°C and bake for two to three hours, or re­duce to 75°C and leave in the oven overnight. The rice will be ten­der. Serve with a green salad and pick­led man­goes or mango atchar.

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