Saturday, March 04, 2017

Persian Chicken Stew with Prunes and Dried Apricots

This chicken stew was pretty easy to make, and it was a big hit – we all loved it! The Little Prince even had third helpings of chicken (though he showed no interest in the dried fruit). The original recipe says the vegetarians can use legumes instead of chicken, and you can obviously spice it up to your liking. I served it on rice and it was a complete meal.

3 Tbsp. neutral oil (such as grapeseed or canola)
1 medium-size onion, sliced thin
3 garlic cloves, minced
8 bone-in skinless chicken thighs and legs (I used boneless chicken thighs and cut them into pieces)
½ tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. cumin powder
1 tsp. sea salt (or to taste)
½ tsp. chili pepper flakes or powder (optional, I didn’t use it)
1 ½ cups crushed tomato sauce
2 ½ to 3 cups lukewarm water (2 cups were enough for me)
1 Tbsp. saffron threads, crushed into powder in a pestle and mortar, dissolved in 2 Tbsp. of hot water
1 stick cinnamon
1 tsp. freshly grated ginger
1 cup pitted prunes
½ cup dried apricots
juice of two limes
herbs of your choice, for garnish

Place a wide, heavy-bottomed pan with a lid on the stove on medium heat and add oil. Add onions and sauté for 10 minutes, until they turn slightly golden but not brown.

Turn heat to medium-high and add garlic, chicken and turmeric, and sauté until the chicken has lost its raw pink color, about five minutes. Add cumin powder, salt, chili pepper and tomatoes. Sauté for five minutes, until the spices are fragrant and the tomato sauce has reduced and looks like a thick jam. (If you find the sauce is sticking to the pan, reduce heat and add 2 tablespoons of water.)

Add lukewarm water, saffron water, cinnamon stick, grated ginger, prunes, dried apricots and lime juice, and gently stir. Reduce heat and cover with a lid to simmer for 40 minutes.

Before serving, taste and adjust for salt. Serve with your favorite fresh herbs strewn on top, alongside rice or bread.

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