Chicken and Saffron Rice

This is an impressive one pot dish, perfect for entertaining since there is little clean-up and it bakes in the oven after the initial browning of the chicken and vegetables. The rice is infused with saffron, a very unique, albeit expensive, spice.

Servings and Times

Serves: 4
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hours

Tools and Appliances

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We begin by heating our dutch oven over medium-low heat. It is a heavy cast-iron pot that is coated with enamel and it takes a while to heat. Next, we prep all the vegetables. We have bowls with the onion, green pepper, garlic, and frozen peas. We want all the vegetables ready since we need to cut up the chicken. We pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Ordinarily, we probably would have bought the chicken either completely whole or already cut-up, but there was a sale at the grocery store and this was the best buy. We remove the bag of innards and set aside and rinse the chicken, patting dry. We cut off the backbone and set it aside with the bag of innards to make a quick chicken stock (or freeze for later use). We cut the chicken into the one leg and one wing, and then split the breast and thigh into two portions. The six pieces of chicken we leave on the cutting board and wash our hands well. We sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper and wash our hands again.

We add the olive oil to the dutch oven and raise the heat to medium. When it is hot enough, we add the chicken skin-side down, tilting the pan to distribute the oil. We wash up again and wash the whole cutting board area. With tongs, we turn the chicken pieces when they are brown on the one side, and continue to brown on all sides. This takes about 12 minutes. With clean tongs, we remove the browned chicken to a clean dinner plate.

Using the tongs and paper towels, we remove all but 1 tablespoon of oil from the dutch oven. We lower the heat to medium-low and add the onions. We stir well with a wooden spoon, scraping up some of the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. We add the green pepper and cook for another couple of minutes. The bottom of the pan is getting dark so we deglaze with the wine at this point and allow it to boil for a couple of minutes. When it is almost completely reduced, we add the garlic and stir. Next we add the oregano and paprika and stir well. We add the rice and cook, coating the rice with the oily veggies. We stir in the chicken stock, and add the bay leaf and saffron. We open a can of tomatoes and squeeze 3 of them with our hands into a measuring cup. We strain the liquid back into the can, and add the tomato flesh to the dutch oven. We put the remainder of the can in a plastic container and refrigerate for another use. When the liquid in the pan is boiling, we add a bit more salt and then we add the chicken back to the pot in one layer, cover, and put in the oven.

We bake the chicken for 20 minutes in the oven. Using potholders, we remove the dutch oven, uncover carefully, and stir in the cold peas and remove the bay leaf. We cover and let sit on the stove for 10 more minutes to heat the peas and finish cooking the chicken. At this time, the liquid is absorbed, the rice is tender, and the chicken is cooked through. We sprinkle on parsley and serve.

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