When most people think of Persian food they think of kebobs and rice but when I think of Persian food I think of khoresh. Khoresh is Persian stew and there is a stew for every season and occasion but the one thing they have in common is slow cooked meat that falls off the bone in an aromatic stew of veggies, fruit, spices, herbs and other amazingness. When I want to impress people with an extravagant Persian meal, I whip out my New Food of Life cookbook and make khoresh. The recipes all take from 3 to 5 hours so it’s not the kind of thing I pull together for a last minute get together. It takes patience, forethought and time. Lots of time.
I wanted to make a khoresh for Persian New Year and since I have been getting all these amazing blood oranges in my CSA I decided to make this orange khoresh with blood oranges. I needed more than I had in my CSA haul so I went to the Hollywood Farmer’s Market and got an amazing deal on a big bag of blood oranges. I love that market. People often complain that they pay a premium at the Farmer’s Market but I’m ALWAYS finding deals!!! Good ones!!
The New Food of Life cookbook, my bible for Persian cooking, always says to brown the meat and onions together for the khoresh recipes. That has NEVER worked for me. I have no idea what I’m doing wrong but the only way I can get the meat and the onions to both brown is to brown them separately. If I try to put the meat in with the onions, they just steam all together and never get brown. But doing them separate means that I can get a really nice brown sear on the meat and then the fat and brown bits from the meat are used to brown up those onions. This is the fool proof method so if you’re prone to foolishness like me, I recommend this method.
I made this for a dinner party and was trying to take the final photos of the dish while I poured wine and chatted with guests as they arrived. I feel like I need to make it again so I can plate it up all pretty and do it justice. Also, so I can eat some more of it while blood oranges are still in season because this chicken dish went fast and I could definitely have more.
Adapted from New Food of Life
- 2 large onions, peeled, halved and sliced
- 1 small 4 lb chicken, cut into pieces and sprinkled with salt (legs, thighs, wings, breasts… freeze the spine to make stock later)
- 2 Tablespoons of oil
- 2 Tablespoons orange peel, slivered and boiled in water for 10 minutes to remove bitterness
- 1 teaspoon advieh (Persian all spice)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 cups freshly squeezed blood orange juice (you can use regular oranges too)
- 4 blood or regular oranges, supremed and cut into slices
- 2 Tablespoons vinegar
- 1/4 cup of lemon or lime juice
- 1/2 cup of sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon of saffron, smashed and dissolved in 1 Tablespoon of hot water
- In a large dutch oven heat the 2 Tablespoons of oil over medium high heat. Add the chicken pieces, skin side down and brown. Turn over and brown on other side. Remove from pot and put on a plate. You may have to brown the meat in batches so that you don’t overcrowd the pan.
- If you have a fattier chicken and it has rendered a bunch of fat, pour off all but 2 Tablespoons of fat and make sure to keep the brown bits in the pot. Add the sliced onions and cook until brown and starting to caramelize.
- Add the orange peel, advieh, salt and pepper. Saute until fragrant.
- Add the browned chicken and any juices that accumulated on the plate to the pot and pour orange juice over top. Cover and simmer for 1 hour and 30 minutes.
- In a saucepan combine the vinegar, lemon or lime juice, sugar, and saffron water. Mix well over low heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add the supremed orange slices and set aside to macerate for 10 minutes or more.
- When the chicken is done cooking, taste and add more salt if needed. Transfer to a casserole dish and arrange the macerated orange slices and juice over top of the chicken. Put in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.
- Just before serving, sprinkle slivered almonds and pistachios over top for garnish. I like to eat this with rice but potatoes, pasta or some other starch would probably also be yummy.