Rice with Sour Cherries, known in Iran as Albaloo Polow is a favorite of just about any child. Who doesn't like cherries? This easy to make dish should be made with sour cherries, also known as tart cherries.
4 chicken breasts, or two Cornish game hens
1 large peeled, onion (sliced thinly)
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp ground Saffron, dissolved in 2 tbsp hot water
2 8-oz jars or pitted sour cherries
2 TBSP sugar
1 stick butter
4 cups long grain Basmati rice
2 TBSP slivered pistachios
1. Place the chicken with onions in an oven safe dish. Season with salt and pepper and add 1 TBSP Saffron water, cover and bake for 350F in oven for 2 hours.
* If you have chicken left overs, you can add some of the saffron water and let it come to a simmer over the stove.
2. Drain the cherries half way and place them with remaining syrup and sugar in a sauce pan and cook for 25 min over medium heat.
3. Prepare the rice, by rinsing in warm water until the water drains away clear.
4. Place rice in a large non-stick pot, add some salt and about 8 cups of water and bring to a quick boil (ca 6-8min)
5. Carefully remove a grain of rice and bite into it. If the rice is soft and only has a tiny little darker dot in the center it's ready to be drained into a colander.
6. Place 2 TBSP butter and 2TBSP Saffron water on the bottom of the hot pot (this will later form the tah-dig).
7. Place to spatulas of white rice in the pot, followed by one spatula of cherries (without syrup)and a sprinkle a bit of cinnamon. Repeat, all the time forming the rice into a pyramid.
8. With the end of a wooden spoon, poke about 4 holes around the tip. This is done so the air can circulate around the rice and cook it evenly.
9.Cover and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes so that the bottom of the rice turns golden.
10. No cover a lid in a dish towel and place it securely over the pot, reduce heat and let simmer for an additional 40 min.
12. Once the rice is fully cooked, place it on a serving dish and pour some of the remaining saffron and a bit of melted butter over the rice and garnish with the pistachio slivers.
13. Remove the chicken and place around the dish.
If you like to learn more about Persian cooking check out this great book. I have this one and love the easy to follow directions and pretty food images.