The rice stuffing is very simple to make and turns out beautifully! If barberries are not available, chopped fresh cranberries or sour cherries are a good substitution. Preparation time does not include marinating time. Adapted from Persian Cooking for a Healthy Kitchen" by Najmieh Batmanglij.
- 2 Cornish hens or 1 whole chicken
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 large onions, thinly sliced
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1⁄2 cup long-grain rice
- 1⁄4 teaspoon cumin
- 1⁄4 teaspoon cardamom
- 1⁄4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon rose water (optional)
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1⁄2 cup dried barberries, cleaned, soaked and drained or 1 cup fresh cranberries, chopped
- 4 tablespoons slivered almonds
- 3 tablespoons raisins
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1⁄4 teaspoon saffron (optional)
- 1⁄4 cup apple juice
- lime slice (to garnish)
- Clean and wash hens. Remove fatty portions and fat from cavity. Marinate 6 hours-overnight with a cup or so of apple juice and salt, cinnamon, cumin, onion and a little paprika (all to taste).
- Brown the onions and garlic in 1 tbs oil. Add the uncooked rice, cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, rosewater, 1 tsp salt, and pepper. Cook over medium heat 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add chicken broth, cover and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.
- Add the barberries, almonds, raisins, and lime juice to the rice. Mix gently, and cook for several more minutes. Remove from heat. Adjust seasonings to taste.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stuff the hens with the rice mixture, and tie the cavities shut. Rub each with 1 tsp salt, additional cinnamon, cumin, paprika and 1 tsp sugar.
- Place hens in a greased baking dish. Mix saffron (dissolved in hot water- optional) and about 1/4 cup apple juice, and pour over the chicken. Cover pan with foil.
- Place in the oven and roast for approximately 45 minutes, or until fully cooked and no longer pink. Baste occasionally.
- Garnish with lime slices and enjoy!