Baked Chicken With Yellow Rice

Chicken and Saffron Rice
Chicken and Saffron Rice. Philippe Desnerck/Photolibrary/Getty Images
Ratings (10)
  • Total: 108 mins
  • Prep: 8 mins
  • Cook: 100 mins
  • Yield: 8 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
1044 Calories
50g Fat
45g Carbs
98g Protein
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

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.

Ingredients

  • 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

Steps to Make It

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.