Turkish Chicken Tava from Istanbul

A visit to a 17th century Turkish spice market and a wonderful roasted chicken dish with a tomato-cinnamon crust on a bed of Saffron potatoes.


2 tablespoons vegetable oil

4 large boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

Salt and pepper to season chicken

3 tablespoons tomato paste

3 cloves minced garlic

3 tablespoons softened butter

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

3 pounds red potatoes, cut into a medium dice

1/2 cup chicken stock

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon salt

Big pinch saffron threads

      The Recipe

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Place chicken breasts in vegetable oil in a roasting pen.  Season generously with salt and pepper.  In a medium bowl, mix together tomato paste, garlic, butter, cinnamon and red pepper flakes.  Thin with one tablespoon water.  Spread evenly on the tops of the chicken.  Cover pan with heavy foil and bake 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, steam diced potatoes in a steamer pot for 10-15 minutes, or until tender.  Drain, add stock, salt, pepper and saffron.  Mix gently over a low flame.

Remove foil from chicken and return to oven for 15 minutes more.  To serve, arrange saffron potatoes on a large platter and top with chicken.  Serves 4 - 6.



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