Saffron chicken and rice

Last night I had the lovely Phil Dukes over for dinner and the first episode of the new series of Doctor Who and I fancied cooking something new. I’ve had my eye on this recipe for a while now but thought it might take a while as there are a few processes so it needed to be a weekend evening really. As it was it was fairly easy to cook and was assembled and ready to pop in the over just before Doctor Who started. A delicious recipe with lots of lovely flavours. I added a bit more chilli than the recipe said as Phil likes a bit of spice.

Serves 4

1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon of ground coriander
1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
A few cardamom seeds
50g of butter
500g of basmati rice
650ml of chicken stock
100g of currants
2 tablespoons of olive oil
8 chicken thighs
Salt and pepper
2-3 onions, peeled and thinly sliced
6 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
3” piece of ginger, peeled and sliced
1 chilli, thinly sliced
A good pinch of saffron
2 tablespoons of milk
An optional 200g (or so) of peas
2 tablespoons of chopped coriander, to garnish

Preheat the oven to 180.

(The whole recipe talks about doing everything in a saucepan and then putting that in the oven. I don’t have an oven proof saucepan so I transferred everything to large, round casserole dish for the final cooking in the oven.)

In a large saucepan heat the butter, cinnamon, coriander, cumin and cardamom seeds until fragrant.

Rinse the rice and drain well. Then add to the spices and butter and stir well to combine and cook for about 3 minutes. Add about 500ml of the chicken stock and continue to cook the rice, over a medium heat, until the liquid has evaporated. Remove from the heat and then stir in the currants. Remove the rice to a bowl, clean out the saucepan and then it’s ready to use to cook the chicken…

Heat some olive oil in the saucepan and start to cook the chicken thighs, skin-side down. Cook for a couple of minutes until the skin is nicely crisp. Whilst the skin is cooking season the fleshy side with salt and pepper and then turn the chicken over and cook the fleshy side until nicely browned. Then remove from the saucepan and place on a plate.

Remove the skin from the chicken and discard. (Be careful, the chicken is still pretty much raw so wash your hands carefully after handling.)

The chicken will have released a fair bit of fat whilst cooking – do not discard this but use it to cook the onions. Once the onions have started to colour and soften add the garlic, chillies and ginger and cook for a few more minutes.

Once the onions are cooked remove them from the saucepan.

In either the saucepan or a casserole dish assemble the dish. Place the chicken on the bottom and pour over 150ml of chicken stock. Then top with the onions and finally with the spiced rice.

Mix the saffron with the milk and then pour over the top.

Cover and cook in the oven for 45 minutes.

Allow the dish to settle for 10 minutes or so, then fluff up the rice and serve. The recipe says to flake the cooked meat off the bone before serving, however, I didn’t bother and Phil and I just flaked the chicken off as we were eating.

Very tasty and substantial.



About neilche

Hi. My name's Neil. I live in Brighton with my flatmate (also Neil) and I work as a Librarian at a local college. I like cooking, eating and socialising with friends. Which is what prompted me to start this blog. I cycle everywhere around town - it helps to work off the calories!
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