Aromatic Rice with Apricots and Chicken

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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 2 teaspoons salt over rice in medium bowl. Stir in enough water to cover rice, and soak for 1 hour. Preheat oven to 350°F. Bring 6 cups water to boil in medium saucepan. Add rice and soaking water. Boil for 5 minutes, then rinse well and drain. Set aside.

Combine sugar, cinnamon stick, crushed cardamom pods and water in heavy skillet. Bring to simmer over medium-low heat and cook for 3 minutes. Add halved apricots and cook for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, pat chicken breasts dry, and sprinkle with ground cinnamon, cardamom, remaining 1 teaspoon salt and black pepper. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add chicken, and cook until lightly browned on all sides, but not cooked through. Set aside.

Melt remaining 3 tablespoons butter in large casserole dish with cover. Add half apricot cooking liquid. Add half of rice and top with half of apricots. Arrange chicken breasts on top and cover with remaining rice and apricots. Arrange cinnamon sticks on top. Cover and bake for 35 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.


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