HOW TO USE
Crisp-Crusted Persian-Style Saffron Rice with Chicken
Start to finish: 1¼ hours (30 minutes active), plus soaking
In a medium bowl, combine 1½ cups rice with enough water to cover by about 1 inch. Set aside at room temperature for at least 30 minutes or up to 12 hours. Drain the rice in a fine-mesh sieve, then rinse under cool running water and drain again. In a ramekin or small bowl, stir together ¼ teaspoon crumbled saffron threads and boiling water. In a medium bowl, stir together 1 tablespoon oil, 1 teaspoon lemon zest, 2 medium cloves of garlic, 1 tablespoon of the saffron water and ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Add 12 ounces of boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into 1- to 1½-inch pieces and stir until evenly coated. In a large bowl, stir together the remaining 2 teaspoons lemon zest and the remaining saffron water. Stir in the drained rice. In the insert of a 5-Cup Pars Automatic Persian Rice Cooker, combine the remaining 3 tablespoons oil and ½ cup of the rice mixture. Stir well, then distribute in an even layer. To the remaining rice mixture, add the chicken mixture, along with ½ cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt, 1 egg yolk, 3 tablespoons dried currants and ½ teaspoon salt. Stir well, then transfer to the rice cooker insert and distribute in an even layer; do not press or compact the layers. Drizzle in 1 cup water and dot with 2 tablespoons of salted butter, cut into 4 pieces. Cover with the lid and turn on the rice cooker, setting the timer for 40 minutes. When cooking is complete, immediately shut off the rice cooker by turning the dial to the “off” position, bypassing the “keep warm” stage. Let the rice rest, covered, for 5 minutes. Remove the lid. Using potholders, carefully lift the insert out of the housing and set it on a heat-safe surface. Invert a platter over the insert. Holding the platter against the insert, carefully invert the two together, then lift off the insert. Sprinkle the rice with parsley and pistachios.
Do not use metal utensils with this pot. Not dishwasher-safe.