- 1 1/2 pounds basmati or long-grain white rice
- 1/2 Cup olive oil, divided
- 2 onions, thinly sliced
- 1 chicken (2-1/2 to 3 pounds), quartered
- Salt and fresh ground pepper
- 1 Cup chicken broth
- 1 peel of large orange, cut into matchstick-size pieces (julienne)
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
- 1/4 Cup dried cherries, soaked in warm water
- 1 Cup California raisins, soaked in warm water
- 1/2 Cup slivered almonds
- 1/2 Cup pistachios
- 1 Teaspoon saffron, infused with 3/4 cup chicken broth
- 4 Tablespoons melted butter
Wash and rinse rice in cool water. Drain and cover with water; let stand and soak for about 2 hours. Meanwhile, heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a heavy pan. Add onions and cook until translucent and lightly colored. Remove onions and set aside. Return pan to heat; season chicken with salt and pepper and add to pan. Cook until golden brown on all sides. Add broth and onions; reduce heat to medium and simmer gently for about 30 minutes. Remove chicken from pan; cool and remove all meat from bones. Toss meat with onions and set aside.
Put orange peel and cold water to cover in saucepan and bring to boil. As soon as the water boils, drain and repeat process 2 more times. Then, add sugar and 1/4 cup of water to pan. Simmer until water has all evaporated and peel is shiny; reserve.
In a large kettle, bring 1 gallon of salted water to boil. Drain rice and add to boiling water; cook about 3 minutes. Drain and rinse in cool water. Set aside. Pour remaining 1/4 cup oil and 1/4 cup water into a room temperature sautépan. Add 1/2 of rice. Drain cherries and raisins; scatter along with chicken, almonds, pistachios and 1/2 of orange peel on top of rice. Spread with remaining rice and gently pour saffron-infused broth over all; cover and cook over low heat for 30 minutes, until done.
Invert warm plate on top of sautépan and turn quickly to remove rice cake which should be golden and crusty and hold together. Garnish with remaining orange peel and drizzle with butter. Serve hot.