This recipe combines elements from the Middle East and South Asia, bringing together fragrant spices, tender chicken breasts, and the natural sweetness of Turkish apricots. The basmati rice, known for its delicate aroma and long grains, provides a perfect canvas for the rich and savory flavors to unfold.
The origins of this dish can be traced back centuries ago when trade routes connected distant lands, allowing the exchange of spices, ingredients, and culinary traditions. The combination of cinnamon, cardamom, and apricots evokes the vibrant markets of the Silk Road, where these prized ingredients were cherished for their exotic and captivating flavors.
Allow the history and heritage of this dish to transport you to distant lands, where ancient traditions and bold flavors intertwine. So, let's begin our culinary exploration and create a memorable feast that pays homage to the culinary tapestry of our world.
3 teaspoons Kosher Sea Salt Flakes, divided
2 cups White Basmati Rice
1/4 cup Sugar
3 Cinnamon Sticks, broken into pieces
3 Green Cardamom pods, crushed
1/4 cup Water
3/4 cup Sun Dried Turkish Apricots, halved
4 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
1/2 teaspoon Ground Cardamom
1/2 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Ground Black Peppercorns
5 tablespoons Butter, divided
Sprinkle salt over the rice in a medium bowl. Stir in enough water to cover the rice, and let it soak for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the rice and the soaking water. Boil for 5 minutes, then rinse well and drain. Set aside.
In a heavy skillet, combine the sugar, cinnamon stick, crushed cardamom pods, and water. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat and cook for 3 minutes.
Add the halved apricots to the skillet and cook for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, pat the chicken breasts dry and sprinkle them with ground cinnamon, cardamom, salt, and black pepper.
Melt butter in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat.
Add the chicken and cook until lightly browned on all sides, but not cooked through. Set aside.
Melt the remaining butter in a large casserole dish with a cover.
Add half of the apricot cooking liquid to the casserole dish. Then, add half of the rice and top it with half of the apricots.
Arrange the chicken breasts on top and cover them with the remaining rice and apricots.
Place the cinnamon sticks on top.
Cover the casserole dish and bake for 35 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.
Remove from oven and rest covered for 5 minutes before serving.