Monday, December 12, 2011

Cooking with Saffron

I've been curious about the ever elusive, expensive saffron for a long time. I'm a huge fan of the Food Network and I've heard about it so much but never used it in my own cooking. Part of that reason being that it's so expensive, but I love how in Croatia you can find so many different sizes of packaging to buy spices in. I saw a small package of saffron in the supermarket for about 5 kuna (a little less than $1) so I knew this was the perfect time to try to cook with it. I'd heard so many times that you only need a pinch to make it go far, so I was really excited to try it!  I found this recipe that had relatively few ingredients (all of which I had on hand!) and it seemed to really make saffron the star of the meal, which is exactly what I was going for.

Saffron Chicken with Parsley and Lemon

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (thighs would be great too!)
1 large onion cut in lengthwise slivers
1 Tbs sunflower oil
1 tsp. butter (optional, but it adds a lot of flavor)
pinch saffron (about 1/4 tsp. or less)
3/4 cup chicken stock
1 1/2 Tbs fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
1 red bell pepper (optional)
1 green bell pepper (optional)

Cut the chicken into cube/bite sized shapes.  Peel the onions and cut into lengthwise slivers and chop parsley.

Use a heavy frying pan which is not too large and has a tight-fitting lid.  Heat the olive oil and butter, then brown the chicken quickly over medium-high heat.  (Don't let it cook long enough that the outside starts to get hard.  The chicken does not need to be cooked through.)

Remove chicken to a plate, add onion, and brown over very low heat until edges of onion pieces are turning golden, about 12-15 minutes.  Remove browned onions to another plate. Add chicken back to pan, and cover with onions.  Heat chicken stock, add saffron and stir to dissolve, then pour over chicken and onions. Simmer on very low heat with pan covered 30-45 minutes.

Add chopped parsley, lemon juice, and a tiny bit of additional water if needed, and simmer 15 minutes more. At this point, I added my chopped red and green bell peppers but next time I make this, I would omit, just because the flavors are already so good without it. Or I would roast the peppers first to give the flavor more depth. Serve hot, over rice. I added a pinch of saffron to my rice's cooking water so not only was my rice infused with the flavor of the saffron, but it was also a beautiful yellow color!


  1. Nikki! I love saffron and always say the same thing, it's so freaking expensive! Derrick came back from Egypt last year with a quart size bag for me that was $10! I love making the rice from this recipe with a few modifications, I just made it last Monday with some delicious skirt steak - email me and I'll send you the modifications that I do!

  2. Mmmmm I always love seeing the recipes you post Dana! That is awesome about the Egyptian saffron. I wish I liked cooking when I was there, I totally regret not getting any of the amazing spices they have! I literally have a pinch of saffron left so I think I can make one more dish with it :)



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...