You pick up strips of silky, moist poached chicken glistening with amber broth and wrap them in an array of fresh green herbs—mint, scallion slivers, basil, tarragon, cilantro—then pop the scented packet in your mouth. Between bites there is the stuffing—cumin-scented rice and dal-like split peas, tinted sunshine yellow with turmeric—that has been cooked to melt-in-the-mouth tenderness inside the gently simmered chicken.
Only much later do you realize that this sensory feast—unlike most from the Rosh Hashanah repertoire—is nearly fat free, rich only in its extravagance of aromatic fragrances and brilliant gold colors.
An added bonus is the wonderful broth that comes with poaching the chicken, to be served at this meal or saved for the second Rosh Hashanah dinner tomorrow.
Today in her New York apartment,
The original Iranian recipe, while utterly delicious, is somewhat tricky to do, but I have come up with an easy and foolproof, though somewhat unconventional, cooking method. I precook all of the stuffing and wrap it up in a thin piece of cotton. Then I split the bird open, slip the stuffing package inside it, and roughly truss the bird closed around it. No need to sew up the chicken and no fear that stray stuffing will seep into the broth and cloud it up. The stuffing drinks in the chicken’s lovely juices, and removing it and serving it is a breeze.
Beautifully fresh herbs are essential here; some herb blossoms, if you can get them, added to the mix make for a stunning presentation.
© 2000 Jayne Cohen. All rights reserved.