I love my time spent in the kitchen with my friend, Ashley. She has an intuitive sense for flavors that combine to make something magnificent.
We find recipes, send them to each other, and change them to make them ours. We will substitute ingredients, change measurements, and make something magnificent and completely different from our starting point. We work well together. Each of us contributing in our own way. We bond over the stove; catching up with each other's lives, sharing abstract thoughts, and savoring what we create together.
This day, we made our version of Khan Plov, also known as Chicken Pilaf in a lavash crust. After the tornado I created in my kitchen making Chicken Mushroom Crepes, I decided to make it easy on myself by prepping this dish. It's really not a difficult recipe, but it does require time. I prepped over two days. Day one was just boiling chicken. This way, the chicken would be cool enough to handle; I wouldn't have to wait on it. Plus I wouldn't have the pot to clean, and my broth would be out of the way (rather than sitting on the counter waiting to cool). Truthfully, I was needing order on this day.
Salt and pepper the chicken and boil about 20 minutes, until done. Remove from water, shred or coarse-chop, and set aside. I reserve the broth for future recipes. The more I boil chicken in it, the tastier it becomes. If my freezer is just too full, my boys (Max and Gus; a Schnocker and Yorkie respectively) enjoy a nice breakfast or dinner with this added.
The next day, lay out all of the measured ingredients.
Chop the chicken into a bowl. Pinch saffron into hot water. Saffron will stain your fingers so if you've just had a manicure, keep this in mind. Coarse-chop the raisins, cherries, and apricots, and dice the candied citrus into a bowl.
Wash the rice until the water runs clear. It's hard to measure exactly how much water I use to cook it in. Most rice will measure 1 part rice to 2 parts water so, 2 c of rice would require 4 c of water. Since I rinse my rice in the same pot that I cook it in, there's always water in the pot that can't be measured. Ashley measured 2 c rice with 4 c water. Add 2 t salt, and set it on medium-high heat until it comes to a boil. As soon as it boils, cover and turn the heat down to low. When eighteen covered minutes have passed, remover from heat, and fluff with a fork.
Toss the almonds with the pistachios in a heavypan. Toast them for 3-4 minutes, until they're a beautiful brown.
Melt a couple tablespoons of butter in a skillet. Add onion and sauté until soft. Add garlic and sauté a moment more. Don't let the garlic brown. Add just under half of the saffron water and all of the chicken. Sauté until the liquid has evaporated, then remove from heat.
Add the rest of the saffron water to the rice. Toss with nigella seeds. Add the chicken mixture, fruits, and nuts.
Make a crust in a buttered baking pan. Using lavash or lefske, cover the bottom and sides of the pan, leaving a couple of inches overhanging the edges. Generously butter both sides of the crust.
Show off and enjoy your masterpiece. It looks beautiful. It's different, and the combination of the sweet fruits with the nutty rice, nuts, and chicken taste perfect with the delicate taste of saffron.
- 1 C shelled pistachios
- 1 C slivered almonds
- 2 1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken (dark meat preferred)
- Healthy pinch of saffron 10-20 threads
- 3/4 c hot water
- 2 C Basmati rice
- 2 sticks butter (8oz) melted butter
- 4 minced garlic cloves
- Medium yellow onion, diced
- 1/2 raisins
- 1 C apricots
- 3/4 C tart dried cherries
- 6 slices candied Citrus, or zest of one orange
- 2 t nigella seeds
- 1 lb lavash, or 1 pkg potato lefske
Ashley and I decided to make this recipe together. We are posting it on the same day. I can't wait to see her take on it. I'm sure that our differences as well as our similarities will reveal themselves. I love the recipes she has posted. She was born a foodie. Browse through them when you have a minute. I know you'll easily make your own list of sumptuous recipes to go back and try.