Barberry, Almond, & Pistachio Braise

Barberry, Almond, and Pistachio Braise



6 servings


6 tablespoons oil, butter, or ghee

2 large onions, peeled and thinly sliced

1½ pounds boneless chicken thighs (or lamb or beef), cut into 2-inch cubes

1 teaspoon sea salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground

black pepper

¼ teaspoon turmeric

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

¼ teaspoon ground saffron dissolved in 1 tablespoon rose water or hot water

2½ cups apple cider, or water



2 tablespoons oil

¼ cup slivered almonds, toasted

¼ cup pistachio kernels, toasted


Barberry Sauce

1 cup dried barberries, cleaned and drained

¼ cup grape molasses or brown sugar

¼ teaspoon ground saffron dissolved in 1 tablespoon rose water or hot water

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice


In a Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat and brown the onions and chicken. Add salt, pepper, turmeric, cinnamon, cardamom, saffron-rose water and sauté for 1 minute. Add apple cider—1 ½ cups for chicken or 2½ cups for meat—and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer over medium heat for 1 hour for chicken or 2 hours for meat or until the meat is tender. Meanwhile, to make the garnish: Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a wide skillet over medium-low heat, add the nuts, and stir-fry for 20 seconds. Remove the nuts from the skillet and set aside (for garnish later). In the same skillet, heat another 2 tablespoons oil. Add the barberries, grape molasses, saffron-rose water, and lime juice. Stir-fry for 1 minute (beware, barberries burn easily; do not overcook). Set aside.

Check to be sure the meat is tender. Transfer the braise from the Dutch oven to a deep, ovenproof casserole. Add barberries on top, cover and keep warm until ready to serve. Just before serving, add the nuts and serve with saffron-steamed rice.

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