Friday, November 20, 2015

Persian Honey Glazed Chicken and Jeweled Rice

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Well, since I moved to Germany, you've probably been anxiously awaiting an authentic German recipe from me. The truth is though, we have even more Iranian and Afghan friends here in Berlin than Germans.

In case you haven't heard on the news, there are thousands and thousands of refugees coming into Germany right now from the Middle East. In the last two years, our church here in Berlin has gone from 150 to 600 members as hundreds of refugees convert from Islam. You can hear more about it here.

Some of these guys fled here because they were Christians. Some fled because they were musicians or writers. Some saw their families get murdered. Some had engagements or relationships broken off when their girlfriends' families found out they weren't Muslims and will probably never see them again. Some want to go home, but know they could be killed for converting to Christianity if they do.

But somehow when you see them, they always look like the happiest people in the world. They don't seem to dwell too much on their sad pasts, but spend most of their time talking about how happy they are to finally have found Christianity and freedom in the West.


All of these refugees are just the nicest people. Poya, for example, is one of our best friends from Afghanistan. He would literally do anything for you. After we bought our kitchen table, Samuel asked him to go with him to pick it up. They decided they would just take the table on the train. Of course when they got to the station, there was a uniformed woman standing there with her arms crossed to inform them that tables on trains are VERBOTEN (aka forbidden).

So, they started walking. But of course, Poya was not about to let Samuel help carry the table.

"No Samuel! I had to travel for days through the deserts and mountains to get here today. I can do it."

Sometimes I still look at the big, heavy thing and think to myself, "How in the world did Poya carry this thing on his shoulder halfway across Berlin?"

But I am sure glad he did. This table is the best thing that ever happened to my photos. It makes the best backdrop. I think when we go back to the U.S. someday, I'm going to have to take it with me. Of course you know what they'll say at the airport when I walk in with a kitchen table on my shoulder (verboten).

Anyway, about this food.

The chicken is juicy and delicious and the jeweled rice is full of textures and flavors. It's basically just rice that is flecked with all the colors of jewels. Bright red rubies of pomegranate and cranberries, green emeralds of pistachios and parsley, and golden turmeric spiced rice, glistening with a hint of honey.

This is really just my own twist on Persian food. I don't pretend that this is exactly how they make it in Iran. But who knows, maybe it accidentally is!

I'm not really sure what it's supposed to be called either. I was trying to look it up and I think it might qualify as either morgh polow or zereshk polow, but since not many of you speak Persian anyway, I'm just going to call it Persian chicken and rice.

One thing you should make sure you do... if you plan to make this ahead or to have leftovers, don't mix in the toppings and then throw it in the fridge. You don't want a bunch of soggy parsley and pomegranate arils and soft pistachios. Just throw them on top right before you eat (sorry Samuel, I learned this from experience. Next time I'll feed it to you fresh!).


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    • Persian Honey Glazed Chicken and Jeweled Rice
    • Serves 2

    • For the chicken:
    • A few tablespoons oil
    • Two chicken thighs with legs attached (or whatever chicken cut you like)
    • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric 
    • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
    • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
    • a pinch of cinnamon
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • 2-4 teaspoons honey
    • For the jeweled rice:
    • 1 cup (200g) uncooked Basamati rice 
    • 2 tablespoons butter
    • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced
    • 2-4 teaspoons honey
    • 1/4- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
    • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric 
    • pinch of cinnamon
    • salt and pepper to taste 
    • 1/2 cup dried cranberries (or other dried fruit)
    • 1/2 cup roughly chopped pistachios (or other nuts)
    • Pomegranate 
    • Fresh Parsley 

    • Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
    • Season the chicken with the turmeric, cumin, garlic, cinnamon, salt, and pepper. 
    • Place the chicken the the pan and cook until internal temperature reaches 170ºF (77ºC), flipping halfway through. If it is browning too fast, turn the heat down. When it's almost done, drizzle on the honey.

    • Meanwhile, cook the rice according to package directions. 
    • In a pan (I used the pan I used for the chicken), heat the butter on medium-high until melted and sizzling and then add the onion and garlic.  Drizzle on the honey and cook until the onion is browned and softened. 
    • Add the cooked rice, cranberries, garlic, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Adjust seasonings to taste. Allow to cook for a few minutes to blend all the flavors. 
    • Top the rice with pistachios, pomegranate arils, and fresh parsley and, of course, the chicken. 

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