Gourmet (December 2008)
Food magazines right now are chock-full of recipes that play on classic combinations and dishes: spaghetti & meatballs, steak and potatoes, mac-n-cheese.
In the case of Latin-Style Chicken and Rice, Gourmet has succeeded in creating a new take on chicken and rice that's not only easy but also "wows" with its delicious flavors.
So what makes this dish "Latin"?
We assume it's the inclusion of saffron, which also happens to be the only downside to this recipe. We don't have anything against the spice, but it's super expensive, regularly selling for $30/ounce. We purchased a .6 ounce jar for $18. That's right, ".6," not "6." There's a ton more info about saffron here.
But the inclusion of saffron is also a huge plus for this recipe, giving the rice a wonderful color and flavor. Another plus is the recipe's use of chicken thighs, which are reliably cheap and easy to cook with. This is all not mention the inclusion of frozen peas, one of our favorite ingredients.
The cooking here is incredibly easy: brown the chicken, saute the onion & garlic, stir in rice, bring to a boil and the dish takes care of itself until the last step, in which the frozen peas are stirred in. It's all very easy with delicious results.
We're definitely making this again. After all, we've invested in this saffron and need to put it to use.
Any tips for getting saffron on the cheap? Great recipes that call for saffron? Let us know!
Active time: 20 min
Start to finish: 1 hr
* 2 lb chicken thighs with skin and bone
* 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits
* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 1 large onion, chopped (2 cups)
* 3 garlic cloves, minced
* 1 cup medium- or long-grain white rice
* 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
* 3/4 cup water
* 1/4 teaspoon crumbled saffron threads
* 1 Turkish or 1/2 California bay leaf
* 1 cup frozen peas (not thawed)
* Garnish: chopped flat-leaf parsley
Pat chicken dry and season with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper (total). Heat butter and oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet (at least 2 inches deep) over medium-high heat until foam subsides, then brown chicken, turning once, about 10 minutes total. Transfer chicken with tongs to a plate.
Pour off all but 2 tablespoons fat from skillet. Cook onion and garlic with 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper over medium heat, stirring, until golden, about 6 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add broth, water, saffron, and bay leaf and bring to a full boil. Nestle chicken in rice, keeping as much rice around (rather than under) chicken as possible, and add juices from plate. Simmer, covered tightly with lid, over low heat until chicken is cooked through, rice is tender, and most of liquid is absorbed, about 25 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in peas. Cover with a kitchen towel and then lid and let stand until all of liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Discard bay leaf.