This is an easy dish with simple ingredients while still full of flavor. Perfect for a special dinner at home. I like to make this dish with black rice as a main course for Shabbat dinner.
Saffron is known the world over as the most expensive spice in the world. I was first introduced to this exotic flavor when studying in Spain. It’s popularly know as the spice as the signature spice in Paella. It’s also common to Middle Eastern cuisine. Saffron is the stigma and stamen from Crocus flowers. These vibrant red “threads”, as they’re referred to, are harvested and dried before they are sold by weight. Good quality saffron can be quite expensive but I assure you, it is well worth it. Only a small pinch is needed to add a beautiful yellow tint and a slight floral flavor to your dish. And there is no substitution.
Also known as Forbidden Rice, black rice is so named for it’s black color. But don’t let the color turn you off. When cooked, it has a soft texture, similar to its white counterpart but with a complex, slightly nutty flavor that pairs perfectly with Saffron Chicken. Black rice is naturally gluten free and loaded with antioxidants. It also has anti-inflammatory properties. It’s higher in protein than brown or white rice and low in carbohydrates. I could go on and on about all the wonderful nutritional benefits of this stuff but what I like about it most is that it’s delicious.
When preparing black rice, keep in mind the yield of cooked rice from uncooked rice is 3:1. So for one cup of uncooked rice, you’ll get three cups cooked.
To prepare black rice on the stove top, combine 1 ¾ cup water, 1 cup of rice, and a pinch of salt (optional) in a small pot. Bring this to a boil over high heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove it from the heat and allow it to stand, covered, for about five minutes. Then fluff and serve.
It’s the perfect accompaniment with Saffron Chicken or any other dish where you would normally use white or brown rice.
This is a very simple dish with just a few simple ingredients. Those are really my favorite things to make. I like combining just a few ingredients so each one really gets to shine. This recipe makes 2 to 4 servings and can easily be increased.
Before starting to prepare this dish, steep the saffron in the vegetable stock. Place three quarters of a cup of vegetable stock in a microwave safe cup and add a pinch of saffron. Microwave for a minute to heat the stock and allow the Saffron to start to dissolve. Set this aside while you start preparing the chicken.
Start with four bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs. Use a paper towel to dry the skin. This is important because it will help the skin to brown. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Place a saute pan over medium-high heat and add a tablespoon of avocado oil. Heat the oil until it shimmers but don’t let it smoke. Add the chicken, skin side down and allow to brown. Don’t move the chicken pieces. Check them after about five minutes and turn over to brown on the other side. Remove them from the pan to a plate and set aside.
Reduce the heat to medium and add the onions. Saute until they start to caramelize. Then add the garlic. Garlic can burn quickly so it’s best to add it toward the end of the cooking time. Let the garlic start to brown, about one to two minutes. Then add the chicken pieces and any juices that have accumulated on the plate back to the pan. Add the vegetable stock along with the juice of half a lemon. Top the chicken pieces with slices of lemon. Reduce the heat so the stock is simmering and cover the pan. Allow the chicken to cook through, about 35 minutes.
To garnish, add a sprinkling of fresh chopped parsley and serve. I recommend serving this with black rice but you could also substitute quinoa. Or prepare my Israeli couscous salad. Get the link to this recipe below. If serving for Shabbat dinner, be sure there is plenty of challah on the table because your guests will want to soak up every last bit of the sauce. Enjoy!
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- 1.5 lbs Chicken Thighs bone-in, skin-on
- 1 small Yellow Onion diced
- 1 clove Garlic minced
- 1 tbsp Avocado Oil
- 1 pinch Saffron
- 3/4 cup Vegetable Stock
- 1 Lemon
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 1 cup Uncooked Black Rice prepared according to package instructions
- Place the vegetable stock and the pinch of saffron in a microwave safe measuring cup and microwave about 45 seconds to heat the stock and disolve the saffron.
- Pat the skin of the chicken dry with paper towels. Season with salt and pepper.
- In a large pan, heat the avocado oil over medium-high heat, until the oil shimmers. Add the chicken pieces, skin side down and allow to brown, six to seven minutes. Turn and allow to brown about five minutes. Remove the chicken pieces to a plate. Set aside.
- Reduce the heat under the pan to medium. Add the onions and saute until starting to brown, about five to seven minutes. Add the garlic and cook an additional one to two minutes, until the garlic become fragrant.
- Return the chicken pieces to the pan. Add the vegetable stock and juice from half the lemon. Slice the remaining half of the lemon and top the chicken pieces with slices.
- Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan and allow the chicken to cook through, about 35 minutes.
- Serve the chicken with a side of black rice.
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