Sunday, March 14, 2010

Persian Chicken and Rice Pilav

(Morgh Polo)
My daughter Zoë has been known to pack some strange things for lunch. On our trips to the Strip District in Pittsburgh she has been known to purchase Crickettes - cheese and bacon flavored crickets and dried mackerel snack packs and take them to school in her lunch for their shock value. Grove City is a small town and things like that are pretty shocking. She also loves to pack rice and noodle dishes to school each day. The more exotic and spicy the better. This recipe was my response to her request for more rice dishes. I have been informed that when Zoë is away at school next term, I must bring some of this dish each time I visit. Even Mira, who is much pickier likes this dish.

I have used two sources in the creation of this dish. I have always used a steamer to make rice, so I turned to Recipes and Remembrances from an Eastern Mediterranean Kitchen: A Culinary Journey Through Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan by Sonia Uvezian for her detailed information on the proportions and mechanics of cooking rice and vermicelli. The book Extending the Table: A World Community Cookbook also provided inspiration.  

Morgh Polo
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
1/2 cup vermicelli, broken into 1/2 inch pieces
1 cup long grain rice
6 tablespoon butter
1 cup almonds, blanched and slivered
2 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup dried currants
2 teaspoons baharat
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups cooked chicken, chunked
In large pot, saute onions in 4 tablespoons of the butter until translucent and moisture from the onion has evaporated. Add uncooked vermicelli and saute until golden brown. Add rice and broth and simmer covered for approximately 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and rice is cooked.

In a skillet, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and gently brown almonds until golden, making sure not to overcook them. When done, add almonds to the pot with the rice. Add baharat, currants and chicken and serve.

You can purchase Baharat from Amazon, Zamouri Spices and from DedeMed. You can also make your own. 

Baharat (Seven Spices)
Equal parts of:
Ground cumin
Ground cloves
Ground cardamom
Ground coriander

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