This recipe has been a favourite for several generations of my family.
- ½ tsp saffron threads crumbled
- 30 ml boiling water
- 4 tbsp (80ml) safflower or corn oil divided
- 6 skinless boneless chicken thighs
- 1½ tsp kosher or coarse sea salt divided, or to taste
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2 cups long white rice
- ½ cup chopped white onion
- ½ cup chopped green capsicum (bell pepper)
- ½ cup chopped red capsicum (bell pepper)
- ½ cup chopped tomato
- 2 garlic cloves minced or pressed
- pinch ground cumin
- pinch ground cinnamon
- 2 whole cloves, stems removed and tops crushed
- 1 cup beer
- 3½ cups chicken broth
- ½ cup peas fresh or thawed from frozen
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Soaking time: 10 minutes
Place the saffron threads in a small mixing bowl along with the boiling water. Mix and let soak for 10 to 15 minutes.
Heat the oil in a large and thick casserole over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with ½ tsp salt and pepper to taste. Once the oil is hot, brown the chicken for 3 to 4 minutes per side. Remove and place in a bowl. Add a couple more tablespoons of oil to the casserole and scrape drippings, don’t remove them though.
Add the uncooked rice and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, until its color starts to change to milky white and the grains separate. Incorporate the onion, green and red bell peppers, tomato and garlic and stir. Add the cumin, cinnamon, crushed cloves, ½ teaspoon salt and continue to cook for 4 to 5 more minutes, until vegetables have softened. Pour in the beer, and let it cook and reduce until it is almost absorbed and the alcohol has evaporated, a couple minutes.
Place the chicken pieces on top of the rice, pour the chicken broth on top and the saffron and its liquid, as well as the remaining ½ teaspoon salt, and stir. When liquid starts to boil, add the peas and cover the pot, reduce heat to low, and continue cooking for about 20 more minutes, or until the rice is cooked through and the liquid has been mostly absorbed.
If the rice grains don’t seem soft and cooked through, add a bit more chicken stock or water and let it cook for another 5 minutes or so. Turn heat off, and let it sit covered for 5 to 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve.