In this easy dish, chicken is baked with yellow rice, which gets its color (and flavor) from a few generous pinches of saffron threads. Saffron is the stigma of the crocus flower, and it is a common ingredient in Indian and Spanish dishes, as well as Italian risotto. It is also an ingredient found in real Arabic coffee and Swedish saffron bread. Saffron is hand-picked, making it one of the most expensive spices in the world by weight. (In some cuisines, the less expensive turmeric is substituted.)
Combining chicken, vegetables, and rice, this dish is a complete meal. Feel free to add carrots or substitute frozen green beans for the peas.
- 2 generous pinches of saffron threads
- 1 tablespoon hot water
- 1 green bell pepper (sliced)
- 1 medium onion (chopped)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small jar (2 ounces) pimiento (drained and chopped)
- 2 1/2 cups long-grain rice
- 1 clove garlic (minced)
- 1 package (10 ounces) frozen green peas
- 5 cups water or low sodium chicken or vegetable stock
- 2 frying chickens (cut up), or about 6 pounds chicken parts
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- Heat the oven to 400 F (200 C). Soak saffron threads in 1 tablespoon of hot water for 10 minutes.
- In a large skillet, saute the green bell pepper and onion in the olive oil until tender.
- Transfer the sauteed vegetables to a large shallow baking dish or roasting pan; add all of the remaining ingredients except chicken and salt and mix together thoroughly.
- Sprinkle chicken pieces with kosher salt and place on top of the rice mixture, skin-side up.
- Cover the baking dish or pan with a lid or cover tightly with foil. Bake in the preheated oven for 1 1/2 hours, or until the rice is tender and the chicken reaches 165 F (74 C). Remove the cover and cook for an additional 5 to 10 minutes to brown the chicken.
- Serve the chicken and rice with a tossed salad, Caesar salad, or fresh sliced tomatoes and cucumbers.
Tips and Variations
- Instead of cut-up chickens, use all chicken legs or thighs or whole legs, or use split chicken breasts.
- Add multicolored bell peppers and 1 can of drained diced tomatoes.
- If you want an even easier method, you can "cheat" and used a 1-pound package of yellow rice with saffron.
- According to the USDA, the minimum safe temperature for chicken and other types of poultry is 165 F (74 C). Use a reliable instant-read thermometer to check the chicken. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the largest pieces, not touching bone.
|Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)|
|Total Fat||50 g|
|Saturated Fat||13 g|
|Unsaturated Fat||21 g|
|Dietary Fiber||5 g|