My boyfriend’s mother (who I hear enjoyed cooking as much as I do) passed away recently, and left a treasure trove of spices behind, including an abundance of saffron. So I started to think about how we could put some of those precious red threads to good use, and here’s what came to mind. 🙂
Another great thing about this dish is that it is 100% Paleo. I am so encouraged to find more and more people locally who are curious about/have started the Paleo diet. Here I am approaching ten months, and I don’t see any reason to stop now. I am healthier mentally and physically than I have ever been, and I know it is due to my diet and workout routine.
Saffron Chicken with Cauliflower “Rice”
2 large organic skin-on chicken breasts or chicken thighs (about 14-16 oz of meat)
1/2 stick clarified butter or coconut oil
1 1/2 large onions
2 Tbs of lime juice
1 teaspoon of turmeric
1 Tbs of tomato purée
Optional: 1 cup sliced mushrooms
2 portions each of 1/2 cup of saffron infused water
(Prepare this by adding 1 Tbs of scalding water into a mortar and pestle with 4 or 5 threads of saffron, grind the saffron and then adding the saffron mixer to the rest of the water. One you will use in the chicken portion of the dish, and one will go in the cauliflower rice.)
salt and pepper to taste
You’ll also need one head of cauliflower for the “rice.”
Preheat your oven to about 310°F.
Quarter the onions, and then fry in 1 1/2 Tbs clarified butter or coconut oil until transparent.
Gently fry the onion in a large pan until it becomes transparent. If you want to put in the mushrooms, you will add those at this point, too. Brown them with the onion, and then add the chicken pieces, salt and pepper and sear the meat so it becomes browned on the outside. Add the turmeric, tomato purée, and lime juice to the saffron infusion, and then pour over browned chicken. Mix the infusion into the onions and chicken so that everything is well coated. Add about one cup of chicken stock or broth to the pot.
Allow to simmer for a few minutes, then cover and place in the oven. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Of course this will vary depending on the thickness of the meat.
While the chicken is in the oven, cut one head of cauliflower into pieces and pulse in a food processor until it becomes the texture of rice or couscous. Heat a skillet and melt 2 Tbs of butter or coconut oil. Then, sauté the cauliflower rice and season it to taste. Allow the cauliflower to cook a bit, and then add the second saffron infusion. Continue to heat the cauliflower and cook to desired tenderness.
Slightly before the chicken is done, remove from the oven and let rest. Portion the rice on your plate and serve with the chicken pieces and the sauce in the pot.
If you are interested in the Paleo diet and live locally, please contact me. I have started a Facebook group called “Sacramento: Beyond the Paleo” and would love to have you join us, even if you are not fully Paleo and just want to learn more about the diet. You can find me on Facebook here
and follow me on twitter here