Saffron Chicken & Rice

I am often asked how I come up with recipes and dinner ideas or am I afraid that I might run out of ideas. The answer is, no. I am inspired in many ways. A walk through a farmers’ market, a trip to the butchers, a picture, my garden for sure, childhood memories, and the list goes on. Today I was inspired by opening my spice cabinet and seeing a tiny little bottle of saffron threads.

This is a beautiful and savory chicken and rice dish filled with saffron spice and onions that cooks up in its own broth left to simmer for 30 minutes making the chicken melt in your mouth tender. Start by soaking 1/2 cup of dried split peas in a medium bowl overnight.

Season 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs with a saffron seasoning made with 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground Himalayan pink sea salt, 1/4 teaspoon cumin, 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/8 teaspoon ancho chile powder, and a generous pinch of saffron threads.

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In a Dutch oven heat the 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat. Brown the chicken. Reduce heat to low and simmer the chicken for 30 minutes.

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Meanwhile, make the rice. Rinse and drain the split peas. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add 1 small diced onion, the peas, 1/4 teaspoon cumin, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Sauté, stirring frequently, until onions are slightly translucent, 3-4 minutes. Add the rice and brown slightly.

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Slowly pour in 3/4 water and a pinch of crushed saffron threads. To crush the saffron just pinch it back and forth between your fingers breaking the threads apart. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until the rice absorbs the liquid, about 20 minutes. Remove rice from heat, allow to rest 10 minutes, and fluff with a fork. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.

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Place the chicken on top of the rice and serve immediately.

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Did you know that red saffron will cook to a nice yellow color? I love using saffron in pasta and rice for that reason. Look how beautiful this plates up. I hope you like it. I love hearing from you. – Ella💙

Saffron Chicken & Rice

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients


*Saffron seasoning
• 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
• 3 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 tablespoon butter
• 1 small onion, diced
• 1/4 cup dried split peas, soaked overnight
• 1/4 teaspoon cumin
• 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 cup basmati rice
• 3/4 cup water
• 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads, crushed

Directions

  1. Season the chicken with the saffron seasoning. In a Dutch oven heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and butter over medium heat. Brown all sides of the chicken. Reduce heat to low and simmer the chicken for 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, make the rice. Heat the remaining olive oil in a medium pot over medium heat. When the oil is shimmering, add onions, peas, cumin, and salt. Sauté, stirring frequently, until onions are slightly translucent, 3-4 minutes. Add the rice and brown slightly. Pour in the water and saffron. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until the rice absorbs the liquid, about 20 minutes. Remove rice from heat, allow to rest 10 minutes, and fluff with a fork. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.
  3. Place the chicken on top of the rice and serve immediately.
  4. • Saffron Seasoning: In a small bowl mix 1/4 teaspoon Himalayan pink sea salt, 1/4 teaspoon cumin, 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/8 teaspoon ancho chile powder, and a pinch of saffron threads.


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