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Orange Saffron Chicken with Rice

I could be just a little too obsessed with this recipe, as I have made it probably too many times over the past month. Something about the savory saffron combined with the sweet raisins? Something about the weather changing and wanting to use the oven again? I've made it with almonds and with pine nuts. Both worked well, so just use whichever you prefer or have on hand.

An easy one-pot meal, but elegant and rich in contrasting flavors. This is a perfect dinner to serve during Rosh Hashanah. If your orange does not quite yield 1/2 cup of juice, use additional water, stock, orange juice or white wine.

2 Tablespoons olive oil
4 chicken thighs, with bones and skin (about 1.5 pounds)
Kosher salt
1 yellow onion, chopped fine
1½ cups white Basmati rice
2 cups chicken stock
zest and juice of one orange (1/2 cup)
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads, crushed
1/3 cup raisins
1/4 cup sliced almonds or pine nuts
1 teaspoon salt
Ground black pepper, to taste
Chopped parsley, as garnish, optional

Heat oven to 375°.

Heat a heavy Dutch oven (with a lid). Coat bottom of Dutch oven with the olive oil. Sprinkle Kosher salt over the chicken thighs, then carefully brown both sides of the thighs, over a medium-high heat, in the olive oil - about five minutes. Remove to plate. Reduce heat, add the chopped onion and saute for several minutes until soft and just beginning to brown. Add the rice and stir to coat the rice completely with the oil. 

Add the chicken stock and orange juice, orange zest, saffron, raisins, almonds, one teaspoon salt and a few turns of the pepper mill. Stir well and bring just to a simmer. Remove from heat.

Return chicken thighs, and any accumulated juices on the plate, to rice mixture. Nestle the chicken pieces down into the rice. Cover, and bake for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest, still covered, for ten additional minutes before serving. Garnish with chopped parsley.

Serves 4.

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Until my next update, I remain, your saffrony correspondent.