Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Turkish Delight

Pollo Piccante con Zafferano Turco & Ceci
Spicy Chicken with Turkish Saffron & Chick Peas

Yes, of course I know that Turkish saffron is not true saffron- it is the actually just safflower blossom and does not have the aroma of the real thing. But there it was, in my cupboard, where it has been for many a month, and simply needed to go as I was busy clearing everything out for my new kitchen to be installed. So it seemed to be the right occasion to give it a go and see how it tasted after all- and so... I did just that!

Obviously, you can dismiss anything at all by comparing it to something that is infinitely better. And yes, Parmigiano Reggiano may be a better cheese than Grana Padano theoretically speaking... but you know what? I love my Grana! And the Turkish saffron worked out just fine in this dish... so there you go! This was a quick, easy and satisfying meal- inexpensive to make and pretty delicious- and this is how I made it...

I started off by making 3 deep cuts into the chicken breast and sliding inside a leaf of basil and a little grated orange zest and ginger. I fried them in a little olive oil, with some finely chopped garlic, some finely sliced Spring onion and sliced carrot. I seasoned them with salt, coarsely ground pepper, a pinch of cinnamon, some finely chopped rosemary and a sprinkle of chili flakes.

Once the chicken began to brown and there were plenty of good juices accumulating in the pan, I added a generous sprinkle of the Turkish saffron- this means a good tablespoon! But fear not- this stuff is VERY inexpensive in comparison to real saffron and much milder in flavor.

Once the chicken began began to brown, I deglazed the pan with a splash of Cointreau and added the chick peas, including some of the liquid from the can. That's right- I said "from the can"! You can obviously soak dried chick peas overnight if you prefer... but I would simply say, "why?". Nuff said!

I turned the heat down to a gentle simmer, put the lid on the pan and let the chick peas come up to temperature, the juices and liquid render down, the chicken become juicy and tender and the juices to infuse everything with delicious flavor! Wow- I even managed to do all of that in one sentence! lol!

After about 10 minutes with the lid on, everything was ready and just perfect! The chicken cooked through but not dry, the chick peas tender but not overdone and the flavor and color just terrific! The sweetness of the carrot helped balance the spice and chili nicely and the chick peas made for a nice accompaniment to the chicken- making this a perfect one-pot supper!

Try it- you'll like it! And you never know... you might just love it!

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