F1 Food Challenge – Chicken Lavangi and Plov

I am well aware that an Azerbaijani blog post is well overdue – all I can say is that I’ve been very busy recently, so apologies. I have quite a lot of content coming up over the following weeks so make sure to stay tuned to that, and I’m aiming to get back on track with the F1 food challenge by Silverstone (more or less).

If I’m honest, part of the reason I’ve been so behind on the challenge is because of my lack of knowledge or experience in so many different world cuisines, which means at times I can find it a bit overwhelming. That being said, I’m overall still really enjoying it so when I eventually had enough time to figure out what to cook for Azerbaijan (and eventually Canada) I managed to get back into it. It helped that everyone who had the Chicken Lavangi thought it was delicious.

Chicken Lavangi is meant to be a stuffed chicken, however I didn’t have enough time for that so I used the stuffing (made of dates and walnuts) as more of a rub/marinade for the chicken thighs – and it was amazing, so I can’t wait to try it properly when I have more time to plan. The rice Plov was also great – my one criticism would be that it was very sweet, not the end of the world but given the chicken was covered in blitzed up prunes, the combo was almost too much. I added some Aubergines fried in cumin to the meal, partly because I felt it needed some more veg and partly to cut through the flavours the dried fruit would give it.

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 Chicken thighs OR 1 whole chicken
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 cup walnuts chopped
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup prunes chopped
  • 1 cup sour cherries – unfortunately I bought dried ones which still had stones in, so I was unable to include these in the actual stuffing
  • 4 1/2 tbsp butter 
  • salt
  • pepper

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
  2. Melt some butter over a medium heat in a frying pan. Add the onion and fry until light golden brown.
  3. Remove from heat and add to a blender. Add the dried fruit and blitz until it forms a thick paste.
  4. Stuff the chicken with the paste, or, as in my case, coat the chicken thighs with it.
  5. Put the chicken in the oven; if you’ve gone for thighs bake it for about 30 minutes, if you have gone for the whole chicken cook for 1h45 to 2h15.

Shirin Plov

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 1 cup plus 3 tbsp butter 
  • 1 large pinch saffron – I have to admit I actually used a pinch of turmeric here, as I can’t access saffron but wanted to keep the yellow colour
  • 3 tbsp salt
  • 1 cup dried apricots
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup prunes

Method:

  1. Cook the rice according to packet instructions.
  2. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter with three tablespoons of water, then add the dried fruit, cook for three minutes.
  3. If you’re using saffron: put a pinch of saffron in 2 tbsp boiling water and leave it to soak for five minutes. Remove the saffron and set the infused water aside.
  4. Mix the rice and dried fruit (and turmeric) together. Add 1/3 of the rice to a large pan, and pour 1/3 cup melted butter over it, then mix. Repeat until all the rice is added.
  5. Add the saffron water to the rice, and mix together. Cover and cook on low heat for 1 hour.

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