Bukharan Shabbat Chicken Palov
Cultures might remain the same, but in this day and age countries often change borders and names. Bukhara is now Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, but its culinary heritage can best be defined as an amalgam of Turkish and Iranian food traditions. Here is a recipe for a Shabbat chicken dish from this region that I adapted for the cook who has no time to wait for chicken to boil and then be deboned!
- Slice the boneless chicken breasts into 1/4-inch slices. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Heat a 3-quart saucepan over high heat for 20 seconds. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil and heat for 10 seconds. Reduce heat to medium high if oil begins to smoke. Add the chicken pieces and sauté for 2 minutes until lightly golden. Remove to a plate and set aside.
- Add the remaining tablespoon of oil and heat for 10 seconds. Add the onions and sauté until lightly golden.
- Add the carrots and apples or apples and quince and sauté an additional 5 minutes until soft.
- Return the chicken to the pot and stir to recombine.
- Add the raisins and all of the seasonings to the chicken-fruit mixture.
- Microwave the broth and the rice, covered, for 5 minutes on high.
- Add the rice and broth to the pot with all the ingredients. Stir gently to combine.
- Reduce the heat to medium. Cover the pot and simmer the mixture for 15 minutes or until the rice is tender.
- Although sautéing boneless chicken breasts is quicker than poaching whole chicken pieces in water, you need to be very careful not to overcook the boneless white meat for fear of it drying out. If available, try boneless chicken thighs for a more foolproof alternative.
- Do not add salt to rice cooked in prepared chicken broth, as the broth contains enough salt.
- Thin julienne of carrots is available in small bags at many markets. These may be substituted for the 2 coarsely shredded carrots.