This recipe for stuffed roasted spatchcock well and truly showcases the fragrant cuisine of Iran. Key Persian ingredients such as barberries, sour cherries, saffron and pomegranate work together to create a perfect balance of sweet and sour flavours.
- 1 tsp saffron threads
- ½ tsp white sugar
- ½ cup ghee
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 120 g (1 cup) dried barberries (see Note), chopped
- 170 g (1 cup) seeded prunes, chopped
- 75 g (½ cup) dried sour cherries (see Note), chopped
- 75 g (½ cup) dried apricots, chopped
- 1 granny smith apple, peeled cored, chopped
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground cardamom
- 50 g (½ cup) walnuts, chopped
- 95 g (¼ cup) pomegranate concentrate or pomegranate molasses (see Note)
- 4 spatchcocks, about 500 g each
- dill, tarragon, pomegranate and Persian steamed saffron rice, to serve
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Preheat oven to 200°C. Using a mortar and pestle, grind saffron and sugar until fine. Place in a bowl with 60ml hot water and stir to dissolve. Set aside.
Melt 3 tbs ghee in a frying pan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, and cook for 4 minutes or until golden. Add dried fruits, apple, spices and walnuts, and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until fragrant and combined. Add saffron water, and cook for a further 3 minutes or until dried fruits are slightly softened. Stir in pomegranate concentrate and season with salt and pepper. Cool.
Working with one spatchcock at a time, pat skin and cavity dry with paper towel, then rub skin liberally with salt. Fill cavity with dried fruit mixture, then secure with toothpicks.
Place spatchcocks in a greased roasting pan and brush with remaining 3 tbs ghee. Bake, basting halfway, for 45 minutes or until cooked through.
Serve spatchcocks with herbs, pomegranate and saffron rice.
•Dried barberries are tart red berries, available in the frozen section of specialist and Middle Eastern food shops.
•Dried sour cherries are available from selected delis.
•Pomegranate concentrate is from Persian food shops. Pomegranate molasses is slightly thicker in consistency, and is available from delis and Middle Eastern food shops.
As seen in Feast magazine, Issue 13, pg83.
Photography by John Laurie