Saturday, April 28, 2012

Saffron Chicken

Ho hum post title for me, but I can't come up with a bad pun every time I make a post, can I?

May I start this blog saying I don't like the new Blogger format?  This will be the last time I complain about it.  Blogger provides me with a free and user-friendly service that is nonessential and strictly for my own enjoyment.  If I don't like it, I could simply learn how to create my own website from scratch and pay someone to host it.  Since I am lazy and poor, and about to be even poorer, I will deal with whatever Blogger throws my way.

Any regular TERP reader knows I take my inspiration from all kinds of places.  Sometimes the merest suggestion can send my brain spinning into a new idea for a dish.  There are times when inspiration comes simply from a discussion I have with friends.

This is what happened with today's recipe.  I was happily chatting away on an online forum about saffron.  I don't use saffron much.  I don't make paella (too much fish!) so the only dish I use saffron in is risotto milanese.  I considered what else I could make with saffron, but I kept thinking about how much I really like my risotto milanese. 

That's when my brain kicked into hyperdrive.  I don't eat much rice these days, so I'm not likely to be making much risotto.  I started thinking about how I could translate the flavors of risotto into another dish.  What if I made the old standby - chicken - using the flavors of a basic risotto like saffron, wine, onion, and garlic?   How would that taste?

 I crumbled a pinch of saffron in warm chicken stock to dissolve and set it aside.

 I crisped up some pancetta in a pan and removed it.

Chicken breasts were browned well and set aside.
I added some butter and olive oil to the pan and softened an onion.  Later I added some garlic.

The saffron stock and some white wine went in and the pan was dutifully scraped of the necessary brown bits and the chicken went back in for a final simmer.

I saw that I had this messy, chunky liquid in the pan.  It wasn't the smooth saffron sauce I had envisioned in my mind.  I remedied that by throwing it all in the blender with a chunk of butter.

Much better.  My intention was to artfully slice the chicken breast and place those slices in some fancy pattern in the sauce and photograph the whole thing in the light box.  It was 9:10 PM, husband was home, I was tired from a gym workout.  I threw the chicken breast on the plate and photographed it on top of the stove using the overhead light.  Look, we all know TERP is not exactly a shining example of food photography.  Deal with it!

How was the sauce?  Pretty good.  It wasn't as yellow as I thought it would be (so no jokes about, "Please don't eat the yellow sauce," which I was so looking forward to doing).  The saffron and pancetta gave it just the right twist on flavor so it didn't taste like every other chicken dish I make.  Would definitely try this one again.

Chicken in Saffron Wine Sauce

  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 pinch saffron
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 4 thin slices pancetta, cut into small pieces
  • 3 Tbl butter, divided use
  • 2 Tbl olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup white wine
Place stock in a microwave-safe container and heat on high for one minute.  Gently crumble saffron into warm stock and stir to dissolve.  Set aside.

In a large pan, cook pancetta until crisp.  Remove from pan and crumble into small pieces.

Sprinkle chicken breasts with salt and pepper.  Place in the pan and brown well on both sides, about 7 minutes per side.  Remove from pan and keep warm.

Add olive oil and 2 Tbl of butter to the pan.  Add the onion and cook until soft.  When onion is soft, add the garlic and cook another minute more.

Add wine and saffron stock mixture to the pan.  Bring to a boil and let it reduce for two minutes.  Return chicken to the pan along with the pancetta.  Reduce to simmer and cook about 15 minutes more.

Remove chicken breasts from pan and pour sauce into a blender or food processor with remaining tablespoon of butter.  Pour sauce over chicken and serve.


Rosemary said...

This great use of saffron more than makes up for the lack of puns. (I'll expect more next time.)
BTW, I'm not fond of change either. FB and Twitter are driving me nuts.

Sue said...

I also HATE the new Blogger nonsense. Who has time to learn WHERE to click WHAT? It's a big pain and I hate it and I AM going to complain...for a long time.

I'm not going to complain about your yummy recipe though. How come you used a blender though? I think you were using that blender stick thing ages ago when I was complaining about it. (See? I do like to complain.) It definitely doesn't do as good a job as a blender, but it's SO convenient that I use it a lot now.

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

Rosemary - I try not to let it all get to me. If I were paying for these services I'd feel like I had a say, but since they're free, I guess I have to suck it up .

I promise a pun again soon!

Sue - Normally I would have used a stick blender, but you are correct when you say a blender tends to do a better job (which I really wanted this time around) and also because I was cooking in a wide, shallow, pan, the stick blender would have made a goddawful mess.

sejur alanya said...

I`ve tried this recipe and i`m really impressed, it has a very good taste. My both child tried it and they like it a lot. Thanks a lot for sharing.

Emily said...

Sounds delicious! I've never used saffron before.

I'm wondering if you have any masala recipes on your blog. I just realized I love masala sauce!

The Duo Dishes said...

Would a dash of turmeric help add some color? Perhaps...It might also tweak the original flavor you were going for, so maybe that's not the best idea. Saffron is a favorite here. It's definitely good for lots of things aside from paella. The smell of it is intoxicating.