Hacienda Chicken with Saffron Rice

Got a new recipe for you today! Aren’t you excited!!? It seemed blog worthy enough because it turned out looking so pretty. I mean, it tastes pretty good too, but I really fell in love with the colors!! Saffron is one of those spices that probably never gets touched in most home kitchens. Not only is it a hard to find ingredient, it is also highly expensive. I am not really sure what makes it so expensive. Regardless, it was one of those intriguing spices that would lure me every time I did run across it. I made a run to our local Indian food store a few weeks back and happened to see a small little box of red thread! Saffron! And it was affordable! I couldn’t resist that time.

I have to admit however, that even though the saffron was very pretty in the rice, I cannot vouch that it was entirely all that flavorful. Not sure what saffron is suppose to taste like?! Maybe I got a bad, cheap-o batch of the stuff? Maybe that’s why it is usually far more expensive? I did notice a subtle flavor, kind of earthy, but I am not sure I’d spend money on that flavor. All that to be said…feel free to make this dish without the addition of saffron…unless you really just want pretty rice to accompany it! In that case, I don’t judge either way. Just don’t blow your grocery budget on the stuff. And maybe I am wrong after all and saffron really does taste amazing. In which case, save up and buy some good stuff!

Photo Mar 05, 1 18 13 PM

On another note. Green olives. I know some love them and some hate them. My husband, as adventurous as he is and usually willing to try just about anything, really does not like olives. He did nearly freak out when he saw them in the pot. Lol. For this reason, I chose to keep the olives whole so they can easily be fished out by those who are less than enthusiastic about them. No problema…more for ME! However, I do think that you should add the olive brine irregardless of if you like olives or not. It adds a very subtle salty flavor that is unmatched. My husband had no problem with that flavor. I just fished out the green orbs before serving him his plate. No complaints after that ūüėČ If you positively cannot stand the olives, maybe add some capers and caper juice in place of them. If you love olives however, I would suggest chopping them so the flavor is more evenly distributed. Ok that’s a long enough spiel about olives.

 Photo Mar 05, 1 20 47 PM

Hacienda Chicken

  • 3 T butter
  • ¬Ĺ large onion
  • 3 large garlic cloves, chopped fine
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (use two cups diced fresh tomatoes if you wish!)
  • 2 cups chopped baby bella mushrooms
  • 1 cup chicken broth or water
  • 1 T dried parsley
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 lb of chicken cuts of choice (we use boneless/skinless thighs)
  • ¬ľ cup white wine
  • ¬Ĺ cup green olives (sliced if everyone likes them or leave them whole if you have someone who doesn‚Äôt like them and wants to pick them out!)
  • ¬ľ cup of brine from the green olives (pour it out of the jar!)
  • Salt to taste
  • ¬Ĺ cup feta cheese crumbled
  • Fresh parsley for serving

 Directions:

Heat butter in Dutch oven (or large pot) and add onions. Saute onions until translucent 3-5 mins. Add garlic and saute for one minute. Toss mushrooms in now and continue to saute for just a couple minutes. Add your diced tomatoes, broth/water, parsley, paprika and chicken. Bring to a simmer and let cook until chicken is done. If you are using chicken breasts or thighs, prob about 20-30 minutes. Near the end of the cooking time, add the white wine, olives and olive brine. Salt to taste. Turn burner off and sprinkle feta cheese over the dish. Serve over saffron rice if you really want to be fancy! A sprinkle of fresh parsley would be oh so lovely too. We ate ours with sauteed kale and garlic.

 Photo Mar 03, 5 27 13 PM

Erica’s Quick-Easy Saffron Rice

  • 3 cups chicken broth or water
  • 4 T butter
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • Pinch of saffron threads
  • 1 ¬Ĺ cups white basamati rice

Directions

Bring broth, butter, salt and saffron to a boil. Reduce heat to low, add rice and stir once. Cover pot and set timer for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, make sure all your water is absorbed and take pot off the stove and set aside for a few minutes. Fluff rice with fork and serve.

Photo Mar 03, 5 38 19 PMEnjoy!!

Chicken Korma with Soaked Rice

I realized I haven’t posted a recipe in a while. Mainly because I have been in a cooking rut. I get in those every now and then where I am lacking motivation…or ingredients…or energy…or…or, I just make excuses. I usually get most creative and inspired at the beginning of the month, right after I go shopping. Times when my fridge is stocked with lots of butter, cream, herbs, and bacon. By the end of the month we are down to eating beans and rice. Anyways. I’ve been on a good week this week, and whipped up some yummy stuff like Real Chicken Spaghetti, Tamale Pie, Zucchini Lasagna, and Chicken Korma. We even got a bit of a chilly streak of weather (it feels chilly after such a blasted hot weekend) so we even made homemade hot chocolate for dessert and watched the sunset. Ah, I can’t wait for fall.

Oh yeah…the recipe I was going to post! Ok, here it is!

Chicken Korma

Adapted from http://appetiteforchina.com

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup almonds (whole, or slivered if you have them!)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 5 whole cardamom pods, split open, seeds removed and crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more if you like it hot)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 tablespoons butter or coconut oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons minced or grated ginger
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts
  • 1 1/2 cups plain yogurt,( homemade is delicious!)
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons organic sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, plus more if needed
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Big handful of chopped cilantro
Directions
  1. Grind 1/2 of the almonds in a spice grinder. The other 1/2, chop into pieces and save  for step 4.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the ground almonds, cumin, coriander, cardamom, cayenne pepper, paprika, cinnamon, and cloves.
  3. Heat the butter or coconut oil ¬†in a large skillet (cast iron or stainless steel are best) over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saut√© until translucent and golden, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for another minute. Add the chicken and saut√©, stirring occasionally, until it’s mostly white, about 5 minutes. Add the almond-spice mix and stir to coat the chicken and onions. You may add a little bit of water at this point if things are sticking badly to the bottom.
  4. Add the yogurt, bay leaf, and sugar. Allow the chicken to simmer for another 7 to 10 minutes, or until cooked through. Season with salt and pepper as you like.
  5. Transfer to a serving dish, garnish with the remaining almond slices and chopped cilantro, and serve. It is especially delicious over soaked brown rice. (*Recipe for that below!)

My food photography skills are not superbly refined…my apologies.

photo (11)

Soaked Brown Rice

Ingredients
  • 2 cups organic brown rice
  • 4 cups filtered water
  • 2 T raw apple cider vinegar (We use Braggs)
  • 2 T butter, coconut oil or olive oil
  • 1 tsp sea salt
Directions
  1. The day before you would like to eat rice, put the rice, water and vinegar in a glass bowl (metal bowls are best avoided here!). Cover with a tea towel or lid. Set aside somewhere will it not get knocked over!
  2. Allow this to soak from anywhere from 8-24 hours. The longer the better! (This helps reduce the phytic acid present in rice which blocks mineral absorption in your body.)
  3. Now you have options: 1. You can dump this entire mixture into a pan and cook as described below. OR 2. You can drain the liquid in the bowl (measure the amount) and add either fresh water or chicken broth in the same amount as drained water. ¬†The rice will have absorbed some of the water, so you will drain a lot less than you originally put in the bowl. (*If the rice has been soaking for more than 12 hours I usually go with option 2…just because). It is safe either way! No worries!
  4. Bring the rice and water/broth along with the butter and salt to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook for 25-30 minutes. Because the rice is soaked it will only take 1/2 the cooking time of normal brown rice. Sweet huh?
  5. Turn the burner off when the time is up and let the rice sit for a few mins while you finish the rest of the meal!

"Oh My Stars!" Soup

Stars. Quite literally. In both expression and reality. I have been simmering a pot of bone broth (my first attempt at this!) for about 18 hours now. The health benefits of a long simmered broth are¬†ridiculous. Since we had a left over chicken carcass from the other nights roast chicken dinner, I threw that in a pot with goodies yesterday morning. I have followed a couple of great blog posts on how to do this and why it is so good for you. The Wonders of Gelatin, The¬†Cumulative¬†Time Approach, Basic How-To. Pinterest is full of good resources too- just look up “bone broth.” Excellent. So now, I have tried my hand at it. I used the cumulative time approach linked above because I don’t have a crock pot (yes, it’s true). Anyways. For lunch I decided that I would fish out some carrots, chicken meat and a few cups of broth and toss some little tiny stars into another pan. Viol√°¬†Chicken Star Soup! I added some additional salt and pepper as well as some parsley. To mine I added some fried garlic (the by product from making some garlic oil earlier for the babys ears). Holy hot tuna it was good.

Simple yet so incredibly nutritious. It feels so good knowing that you are feeding your family so healthy for them. I kept talking about how good it was for us and Leandra like went crazy eating it. She was like “this is SO good mom. It makes us warm all inside.” Love that kid.

There really isn’t a recipe as the possibilities are endless, especially if you have a good quality broth. I had heard that chicken soup can cure anything, and up until this point I had never really felt that was true. Mainly because unfortunately, boxed broths lack the nutrients and gelatin required for healing. That’s all I had ever really made. I am changed now. I will be making more bone broth in the future. I see the light.

So lovely. photo (1)