Last night I made Zereshk Polo, a Persian chicken and rice sdish using barberries (below left) and today a Fig and Olive Tapenade (below right). I should have made them as part of the same meal!
I bought the semi-dried barberries at the Persian supermarket in Hindmarsh ($10 a klio). The recipe is from Ian Hemphill's "Spice Notes and Recipes". It's a terrific book if you're interested in spices as I am! If I didn't have the barberries I'd try currants.
4-6 chicken thigh fillets, skinned
3 cups basmati rice
1 tbsp salt _ 2 tsp salt
6 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, halved and sliced thinly
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground black peppercorns
200ml plain yoghurt
1/2 tsp saffrpn soaked in 1 tbsp milk for 15 mins
4 tbsp barberries (zereshk)
2 tbsp almond slivers
1 tbsp sugar
Cover rice with cold water and 1 tbsp salt. Soak for 2 hours.
Fry onion in 2 tbsp oil on medium heat until it starts to go golden. Add chicken thighs, turmeric, 1 tsp salt and pepper. Brown chicken on both sides. Then add 1 cup water (I used chicken stock) and simmer uncovered for 15 mins until chicken is cooked and liquid is reduced.
Remove chicken from pan to cool. Keep onion and stock for later.
Whisk together yoghurt, saffron amd milk, and egg. Marinate the chicken in this mix for an hour.
Rinse and drain barberries. Mix with 2 tbsp oil, almond slivers and sugar. Cook in pan over medium heat for 2 mins, stirring frequently.
Rinse rice in cold water. Boil 2 litres water with 1 tsp salt. Add rice and cook for 5 mins. Drain and rinse in cold water.
Place 2 tbsp oil in the base of a large pot. Add half the rice and spread evenly. Take chicken from marinade and lay pieces evenly on the rice. Mix barberry mixture through remaining rice and layer on top of chicken.
Spoon onion slices on top of rice and pour stock over the top.
Cover the pot tightly and steam for 30 mins.
Note: My chicken was probably undercooked when I put it in the pot. I decided to put it into the oven on 150 C and this wasn't enough. The pot was probably not wide enough. Next time I'd cook the chicken a bit longer in the first instance, and cook it on the stove top in a big saucepan with a lid.
Our youngest asked to have the rice again! That's always a good sign.
Fig and Olive Tapenade
From "Your Place or Mine" by George Colombaris and Gary Mehigan. Another great book that you should check out as its been on sale of late! I had bought 1 kilo of semi-dried figs from Gaganis Bros warehouse the other day.
300g semi-dried figs, soaked in 1 litre water overnight
150g pitted kalamata olives
100ml red wine vinegar
100g brown sugar
Save 100ml of fig soaking liquid.
Simmer all ingredients (including the soaking liquid) for 20 mins. Cool for 5 mins and pulse in blender. Chill and serve with cheese.
This tastes FANTASTIC!