We are very excited to share this recipe for Chef Shary's Stuffed Persian Chicken, cooked alongside Kirstie Allsopp on the 2023 edition of Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas.

In the programme Shary and Kirstie prepared this alternative Christmas chicken recipe using flavours from Iran to create a twist on the traditional turkey dish.

Here's Shary's festive chicken breast filled with wild rice and barberries, served with a saffron cream sauce – perfect for serving 4 to 6 people. 

This recipe is very versatile, giving you the option to choose what you would prefer in the stuffing mix, what you would like to accompany the dish with and also flexibility when you prepare the chicken. You can prepare the chicken and freeze it for up to 3 months, refrigerate it 3-4 days in advance or create it on the day and cook it there and then... it’s entirely up to you!

Chef Shary Jahangiry and Kirstie Allsopp on Kirstie's Handmade Christmas 2023


4 large chicken breasts (boneless / skinless)
Salt & pepper
• Advieh or mixed spice
Vegetable oil

• Dill and coriander (fresh or dry)

• 250g wild rice or jasmine rice / 2 packets of ready made rice

• 100g lentils, split peas or cooked green lentils
• 50g barberries or fresh cranberries

• 2 to 4 tbsp pomegranate molasses or cranberry sauce
• 2 to 4 tbsp tahini

• 1 tbsp chia seeds (optional)
• 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds (optional)

• 50g pistachio kernels (optional)
• Pomegranate seeds

• 75g unsalted butter
• 150ml chicken stock
• 300ml double cream
• 250ml passata
• 100ml milk
• ½ tsp salt
• ½ tsp sugar
• ½ mixed herbs dried
• a pinch of saffron (ground or strands)

Chef Sharys Persian Stuffed Chicken - Kirstie's Handmade Christmas

Kirstie tasting Chef Shary's Persian Chicken

Stuffing instructions (“pimp your rice Persian style”)
1) Begin by making the chicken stuffing. If cooking the rice, in a large bowl wash the rice 3-4 times to remove starch, drain and set aside. If using cooked rice, skip to step 3.

2) Fill a medium pan with water, add salt and bring to a boil. Add the washed rice to the pan and bring back to boil. Once it’s bubbling, lower the heat to a gentle simmer and cook the rice for approx 20 minutes.

3) Wash and drain your lentils and in a separate pan half fill it with water. Bring to boil, add the lentils and then reduce the heart to medium / low. Cook until almost soft, drain the water and set aside. If you are using ready-cooked lentils skip this step.

4) Chop the dill and coriander (if using fresh) and in a large bowl mix this together with rice, lentils and all the other stuffing ingredients. With your hand massage the mixture a little until all ingredients come together and make a sticky mix. Cover and set aside.

Preparing the chicken
5) To butterfly the chicken breasts, start by cutting the breast from its thinner side, almost all the way through but leaving enough to keep it in one piece. Open it up and lay on a large piece of parchment paper. Fold over the top of the chicken or put another piece of parchment paper on top and with a rolling pin lightly bash the chicken until flat.

6) Mix together salt, pepper, mixed spice / advieh and veg oil to make a dry rub. Rub the mixture all over the chicken breast. 

7) Divide the stuffing mixture into 4 equal amounts. Place the chicken breast on parchment paper and spoon the stuffing into the middle of the flattened breast. Roll the breast into a sausage-like shape, making sure each side is encased and twist the ends. Refrigerate for half an hour or until ready to cook.

8) Take out of the fridge and wrap the chicken tightly (still in its parchment paper) in tin foil, almost making a cracker shape by twisting the sides. Place chicken in an ovenproof dish, pour water into the dish halfway up the rolls and place in a preheated oven for 15-20 minutes on 200°c / 180°c fan.

9) Remove from the oven and set aside in the cooking liquid until ready to serve.

Saffron sauce
10) In a medium pan make a simple roux by melting butter and flour on a medium to high heat. Mix well and saute for a couple of minutes. Reduce the heat and start adding the stock, a little at a time. Whisk to combine the mixture and keep doing this until the stock is all combined and lump free. 

11) Add in the cream, milk, passata and saffron and mix again. Finish with the dried herb mix, sugar and seasoning and gently simmer on a low heat.

Assemble the dish
12) Slice the chicken breasts into thick slices,  warm the sauce and spoon onto the serving dish or plates. Place the chicken on top and garnish with pomegranate seeds and some extra sauce.  

Chef Shary's stuffed Persian Chicken

Serving suggestions
Below is what was served with the dish on Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas, of course you can add in whatever you would like to accompany the dish, here are our recipe suggestions.

Ginger and butter carrots:
1) Peel the carrots, bring to boil a pan of salted water and place the carrots in for 5 minutes or until they are half cooked. 

2) Drain and place in an oven proof tray. Coat in 1 tsp honey, 20g grated fresh ginger / 1 tsp ginger powder, ½ tsp salt, 1 tsp olive oil and a dash of white wine vinegar.

3) Place in a preheated oven for 10 -15 minutes or until they are done to your liking. Finish with mint and a little drizzle of honey.

Roast potatoes:
1) Boil baby potatoes (with their skin) in a pan of salted water with some fresh mint, until they are nearly cooked. Drain the water and shake well to fluff them up and set aside. 

2) In an oven tray, heat up a jar of duck fat or a big glug of vegetable oil with 2 tsp of mixed spice, a crushed half a head of garlic, some onions and peppers until  the fat is piping hot.

3) With the aid of a potato masher or the bottom of a pan, slightly crush the potatoes and add to the heated oil mix. Cook at 200°c / 180°c fan for about 15-20 minutes, turning them once or twice until they are well roasted and golden.


And if you would rather we cook for you, try our Wild Rice Stuffed Chicken.

Modern Persian Kitchen - Wild Rice Stuffed Chicken

Modern Persian Kitchen - Wild Rice Stuffed Chicken Christmas Spread

We would love to see your Persian inspired Christmas dinner creations, please tag us on @modernpersiankitchen @jahangiryfamily or pop over an email to hello@modernpersiankitchen.co.uk

From our family to yours, have a wonderful Christmas and happy feasting! Nooshe Jan.

December 11, 2023