This is my improvised version of a delicious dish we had for lunch at the Governor’s house: aromatic chicken with fruit, almonds and delectably light rice. If you can find pomegranate molasses, do use it for its authentic sour-sweet taste and added colour.
At least an hour before you start cooking the chicken, put the rice in a sieve, rinse under running water, then turn into a bowl, add 1 tablespoon salt and cover with warm water. Leave on one side.
Peel the onions and chop fairly small. Melt
Turn up the heat slightly, add the chicken joints and brown well on each side. Then return the onions to the casserole and add the almonds, apricots and prunes. Sprinkle on the ground cinnamon and a generous grinding of black pepper, then pour in the stock. Put the lid on and bring to the boil, then lower the heat. Simmer very gently for 30-40 minutes until the chicken is tender.
Meanwhile, bring a fairly large saucepan of salted water up to the boil.
Drain the soaked rice, add it to the boiling water and boil briskly for 4-6 minutes only; the rice should still be slightly underdone. Drain the rice into a large sieve, rinse through with running water and leave on one side.
When the chicken joints are cooked, lift them out with a slotted spatula and set aside on a plate. Then briskly boil the contents of the uncovered casserole for a few minutes, stirring now and then to prevent sticking, until the liquid is well reduced to a thick and syrupy sauce. If using pomegranate molasses, stir it in at this stage. Spoon the mixture onto the plate with the chicken. Wash out and dry the casserole dish.
Melt the remaining
© 2010 Josceline Dimbleby. All rights reserved.