Ever since I started avoiding MSG in my food, yellow rice has pretty much been off limits. But my favorite variety of chicken and rice is chicken and yellow rice. So I decided to try to make it from scratch, which required me to work with a foreign ingredient – saffron. I was very proud of my small-town Publix for actually carrying it (in the ethnic section near the Spanish and Mexican foods). I made a “saffron tea” with some of the chicken stock, and it worked like a charm – yellow rice the natural way. This turned out really good and was exactly what I’ve been craving. If I wasn’t feeding it to the kiddos, I would have added a little heat, some more paprika and probably some red pepper flakes. This can be done start to finish in under an hour, so it’s definitely a weeknight possibility. And only one pot to clean, definitely a plus in my house! Hope you enjoy!
Chicken and Yellow Rice
2 – 3 tbsp canola oil
3 lbs bone-in chicken pieces (I used legs and thighs), seasoned liberally with salt, pepper and garlic powder
2 carrots, quartered and diced
1 stalk of celery, halved and diced
1 sweet onion, diced small
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
4 cups chicken stock
1 pinch saffron
1 3/4 cup white rice (I used Jasmine)
1 cup frozen peas
Corn kernels from one cob
Juice from 1 lime
1.) In a glass dish, heat about 1 cup of chicken stock in the microwave for 2 to 3 minutes, until very hot. Add saffron and stir. Allow saffron to dissolve in hot liquid until the recipe calls for the chicken stock (although all threads will probably not dissolve fully).
2.) In a large dutch oven (I used a coated cast iron pot), heat oil and add chicken pieces to pan, skin side down, in an even layer. Fry over medium heat for 7 to 8 minutes, and then turn each one over. Cook for about 5 minutes more. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate. Remove some of the oil from the pot until only about 2 tbsp remain.
3.) Add carrots, celery and onion to pot, scraping bottom to release any brown bits. If bottom starts to burn, add 1/4 cup of the chicken stock to deglaze. Add garlic, salt, pepper and paprika and sauté until veggies begin to soften, about 3 or 4 minutes. Add rice and cook for about 1 minute longer.
4.) Remove any remaining saffron threads from the cup of chicken stock. Add that stock, as well as the other remaining stock to the pot. Stir well and then add chicken back to pot. Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for 17 to 18 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure rice does not stick, and that chicken cooks evenly.
5.) Remove chicken from pot and check the temp to ensure it is at 165 degrees. Add frozen peas, corn and lime juice to rice. Stir well and then add the chicken back to the pot. Cover and cook for 2 minutes longer.