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(Shirazi rice)

Frrom Pari Ardalan Malek's Joy of Persian Cooking: Persian-American Cuisine (2000, Abjad Book Designers and Builders).

1 three-pound chicken or

10 chicken pieces (breasts or thighs)

1 chopped onion

3 cups dry rice

2 medium eggplants

1 cup yogurt

1 cup butter

2 egg yolks

1 cup zereshk (barberries, found in Middle Eastern stores)

2 teaspoons liquid saffron

2 tablespoons oil

1/2 cup water

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1. Remove chicken skin and lightly brown chicken with onions in oil.

2. Add water, then cook until chicken is done (30 minutes).

3. Set aside chicken stock.

4. Peel and cut eggplants into 1 inch x 2 inch x 1/2 inch pieces.

5. Sauté in oil and place on paper towel.

6. Cook rice.

7. Wash the barberries and drain.

8. Place barberries in a small pan with 1 teaspoon sugar and 1 tablespoon butter. Stir over low heat for 3 minutes and set aside.

9. In a large bowl, mix yogurt, yolks and saffron. Spoon rice into this bowl and gently mix.

10. Grease an 11 inch x 9 inch Pyrex dish and spoon 4 tablespoons of this mixture into it, coating the sides and bottom with a brush.

11. Place half of the rice in the Pyrex, cover with chicken pieces, and layer with fried eggplants.

12. Spoon remaining rice on top of the eggplants and gently press down on the rice.

13. Melt butter, mix with the chicken stock saved earlier and pour over Pyrex.

14. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 375 degrees for 1 1/2-2 hours (the crust will turn golden brown).

15. When ready to serve, place a platter or tray on top of Pyrex and gently invert.

16. Spoon the barberries over the upside-down rice and serve.

Preparation time: 1 1/2 hours

Serves 6 persons

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