Khorest-e Kadu (Persian Chicken and Zucchini Stew)

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Cooking Persian food can seem to be a daunting task. I’ll admit, I was intimidated at first. It’s the number one reason most of my Iranian friends don’t cook Persian food. Most complain that it’s too difficult or time consuming. But when you actually try it, it’s much easier than it seems. Trust me, if my little brother can make Fesenjoon off my recipe, anyone can!

I wanted to include a Khorest (Persian stew) recipe that even the most novice cook could make. This simplified recipe for Khorest-e Kadu is very easy to prepare and can be made in about an hour. The prep work is minimal and you only get one pot dirty. Just to put it in perspective……during my son’s afternoon nap, which is usually only an hour and a half, I was able to eat my lunch, prepare this stew, clean up the kitchen and still have time to do an art project with my daughter!

Khorest-e Kadu

(Serves 6)

vegetable oil
1.5 lb skinless boneless chicken thighs
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp turmeric
2 medium zucchini, cut into 1 inch pieces
4 heaping tbsp tomato paste (approx a small can)
1.5 cups low sodium chicken broth
juice of one lemon
1/4 tsp of ground saffron dissolved in two tbsp hot water
salt & pepper
8-10 whole grape tomatoes

Heat 2 tbsp of vegetable oil over medium high heat in a large heavy saucepan or dutch oven. When the oil is  hot, brown the chicken, about 3 minutes per side.

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Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside. If necessary add another tbsp of vegetable oil and add the sliced onions.  Fry the onions for 8-10 minutes or until they are slightly golden. Add the turmeric and fry for one more minute.

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Add the zucchini and fry, stirring frequently for about 4 minutes. If you find that the bottom of the pan is getting too brown, turn the heat down slightly, add a few tablespoons of water and scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pan.

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Add the tomato paste and fry for one more minute. Return the chicken to the pan. Then add the chicken broth, the saffron water, lemon juice, one tsp of salt and 1/2 tsp of pepper. Bring to a boil and turn down heat to medium low. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. In the last 20 minutes add the grape tomatoes.

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When ready, check for seasoning. Add more salt, pepper or lemon juice if desired. The stew might seem very watery when it is very hot. It will thicken up a bit as it cooks down. What I personally like to do is cool it completely and then heat it up again before I serve it.

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Serve with steamed rice. Enjoy!

 

 

 

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Khorest-e Sib o Aloo (Persian Chicken, Apple and Dried Plum Stew)

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Ten years ago tomorrow I married the love of my life. Our wedding was a grand affair and  the meeting of two completely different cultures. My husband is about 10th generation Canadian, so it was quite a sight to see some of his extended relatives from rural Ontario (who I’m sure had never set eyes on a Middle Eastern person before our wedding) dancing to Persian music. It was truly spectacular!

Before and after the wedding was filled with parties and celebrations. I don’t think any of us had anticipated that our wedding festivities would go on for a full year! Leading up to the wedding I had three bridal showers, but probably my most memorable shower was the one our dear family friend Behi-joon threw for me……it was like a wedding in itself!

One of my favourite keepsakes from this shower was a recipe book that she had put together for me in which all ladies in attendance submitted their favourite recipe. In celebration of my anniversary, I thought I would include one of the delicious recipes from this collection. Our family friend Pouri-joon had graciously given me her recipe for Khorest-e Sib o Aloo, which was her specialty.

With braised chicken, apples, dried plumes, pomegranate and aromatic spices, this sweet and slightly tart stew is not only easy to make, but also nourishing and the perfect Fall dish.

Khorest-e Sib o Aloo
(Serves 4-6)

2 tbsp canola oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp turmeric
10-12 boneless skinless chicken thighs
3 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp pomegranate paste
1 tbsp sugar
2 cups chicken broth
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
3 cooking apples (I used Fuji), peeled, cored and sliced
1 cup pitted dried plums (prunes)
1/4 tsp ground saffron dissolved in hot water
salt and pepper

Heat canola oil in a heavy pot over medium heat.  Add the onions and saute for 8-10 minutes until lightly golden. Add the turmeric and saute for another minute.

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Add the chicken pieces and brown for 10 minutes over medium heat.

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Add the tomato paste and saute for one minute. Add the chicken broth, cinnamon, pomegranate paste and sugar. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Once boiling turn down the heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally.

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Add the apples, prunes, lime juice, saffron water, one tsp of salt and 1/2 tsp of pepper. Cover and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust seasoning adding more salt, pepper, sugar or lime juice if necessary. The stew should be a little sweet and a little sour – if it’s too sweet for your taste, add some lime juice. If it’s too sour add a bit of sugar.

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Serve with steamed rice. Enjoy!

Wedding photo

Morgh o Aloo (Persian Chicken and Dried Plum Stew)

A few weeks ago I wasn’t feeling well and was in no mood to cook for my family. So my mother brought over dinner for us. She made us this delicious Chicken and Dried Plum Stew. I immediately knew that I wanted to feature this dish. This slightly sweet, slightly sour stew is not only tasty but so easy to make.

Morgh o Aloo, to me, is the perfect family dinner. It is incredibly nutritious and balanced – protein, carbohydrates, vegetables and fruit. But more importantly it is a very easy one pot meal to prepare. One pot meals are a Godsend to the home cook. Simple to prepare and best of all, little clean-up…….just one pot! This stew is a dish that can be  prepped and cooked in about an hour…..and most of that is just letting it simmer.

The dried plums add a wonderful sweetness to this dish, while the tomato and lime juice add acidity. Like most Persian cuisine, it’s about perfect balance. Another option for this dish is to leave out the potatoes and serve it over rice, couscous or quinoa. Any way you serve it I’m sure you’ll find it delicious!

Morgh o Aloo
(Serves 4)

2 tbsp canola oil
1 medium onion, sliced
1 tsp turmeric
8-10 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
4 heaping tbsp tomato paste
2 cups chicken broth
3 medium yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
1 cup baby carrots (or peeled and sliced regular carrot)
1 cup pitted dried plums (prunes)
1/4 ground saffron dissolved in 2 tbsp hot water
2 tbsp fresh lime juice (or bottled Persian lime juice)
salt and pepper

In a large pot heat the oil over medium-high heat. Fry the onions, stirring frequently, for about 7-8 minutes until starting to get golden. Add the turmeric and fry for another minute.

Add the chicken thighs to the pan (if your pot is not non-stick add another tbsp of oil before adding the chicken). Brown the chicken for about 1-2 minutes per side.

Add the tomato paste to the chicken and stir. Fry for about one minute. Add the chicken broth and bring to a light boil. Then add the potatoes, dried plums, carrots, saffron water and lime juice. Stir. Bring to a light boil, and turn down to a simmer over medium-low heat.

Cover and simmer for 40-50 minutes until potatoes are tender. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed. Enjoy!