Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Persian chicken with saffron rice pilaf

I accidentally bought chicken thighs recently when I was expecting chicken breasts. But no matter, lots of chicken recipes can be made with either kind. Lots of recipes are actually better with thighs, since they are juicier. This Persian chicken recipe was a tasty dinner, and we ate it with peas with yogurt and crunchy bits.

If you plan to try this recipe, marinate the chicken while you're out at work, or even just for as much time as you have before dinner, as little as 30 minutes makes some difference. For the rice, I used brown basmati, but if you use a white rice it will be quicker (though also less healthy). Enjoy!
Persian Chicken with Saffron Rice Pilaf
serves 3
adapted from Eat Right for Your Body Type by Anjum Anand

for the chicken:
3 large chicken thighs, skin removed
3 T vegetable oil
3 T water or stock
1/4 medium onion, finely chopped (use the rest for the rice)
4 t lemon juice
1 1/2 t cumin seeds
3/4 t ground cinnamon
3 T fresh mint leaves

for the rice:
375 g brown basmati rice
a good pinch of saffron threads
1 T vegetable oil
1 bay leaf
1 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t ground ginger
3/4 medium onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 c (500 ml) water or stock
2 dates, seeded and sliced

Place the chicken thighs in a dish. Mix together all the other chicken ingredients and pour over the chicken.
Leave to marinate in the fridge, overnight if possible.
Preheat the oven to 350 F (180 C). Place the chicken and its marinade in a baking dish and bake for 30 minutes.

Rinse the rice.
Infuse the saffron in 2 T hot water for 15 minutes.
Heat the oil in a saucepan. Add the spices and the onion and cook for 15 minutes, until very soft and golden.
Add the garlic and one minute later add the drained rice, water or stock, saffron and saffron water.
Bring to a boil (or transfer to a rice cooker) and add the dates.
Reduce heat to a simmer and let cook for 30 to 45 minutes, until the rice is cooked to your liking.

Serve the chicken on top of the rice with the pan juices and some fresh mint leaves.


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