Thursday, 13 March 2008

Chicken with White Wine, Saffron, Pine Nuts and Raisins

We don't eat much chicken in our house, unless it's a whole roast that gets slowly worked down into left-over pieces and soup stock. Chicken parts just seem so expensive compared to buying the whole thing, and when the cost is taken into account we just gravitate to other meats like lamb or pork. A good chicken recipe does turn the head, though, and this one from the Borough Market Cookbook was the equivalent of a lithe, buxom blonde in a bikini (or, more to my liking, George Clooney taking one of his pot bellied pigs for a walk).

This was also perfect for having guests around - fairly simple to prepare and it could just bubble away in the background without you worrying how your level of drinking might impair the final outcome. I wasn't entirely convinced by the dish as it did cook away; the saffron with the wine gave off a slightly acidic smell that I didn't think promised good things. Everyone, though, loved it, with the chicken coming out tender and the raisins adding a nice
touch of sweet to the dry wine and the exotic saffron. A bit of cous cous on the side helped lap up the sauces and went with the vaguely North African aura of the dish. And, ideally for my thrifty mind, you can make it by jointing the chicken into 8 pieces, leaving the chance for you to make stock from the carcass. It's firmly entered the Must Make Again list, and fairly near the top, too.

For the one-pot-wonder that this is, I'm submitting this to Lis at La Mia Cucina for this month's Weekend Cookbok Challenge.

Chicken with White Wine, Saffron and Raisins, From Borough Market Cookbook (Meat and Fish)
serves 4

  • 1 medium chicken, jointed into 8
  • 1 Tbs flour
  • 3 Tbs olive oil
  • 2 large onions, cut into half-moon slivers
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 600ml dry white wine
  • 1 pinch saffron threads
  • 75 g raisins (the original recipe calls for currants)
  • 60g pine nuts
  • 10g fresh parsely

  1. Dust the chicken pieces with flour
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed casserole dish and begin browning the chicken on all sides. Make sure there's enough room for the pieces (you may need to do it in batches) since you want the chicken to brown nicely and not be crowded in to the pot. Remove chicken as it crisps and set aside, and keep the oil in the casserole.
  3. Crush the garlic with a pinch of sea salt in a mortar and pestle.
  4. Saute the onion in the casserole dish that cooked the chicken, stirring and loosening any brown bits left behind from the chicken.
  5. When the onion is turning lightly golden, add the garlic paste and stir, cooking for about 30 seconds.
  6. Put the chicken back in the dish, placed together snugly and with the skin side up.
  7. Stick in the 2 bay leaves, tucked underneath the chicken pieces.
  8. Season with salt and pepper, and add in the wine and saffron. Make sure the saffron is submerged in the liquid.
  9. Bring to a simmer and cook for 40-45 minutes, or transfer to an oven at 180C / 350 F and cook for the same amount of time in there
  10. After 20 minutes of the cooking, sprinkly the rasisns (or currants) and pine nuts over the chicken.
  11. Check the level of the liquid - there should be at least 240ml / 1 C of liquid in the dish so top up with water or chicken stock if needed.
  12. Serve with parsely scattered over the top.


Joanna said...

Mmm ... all my favourite flavours, delicious


Bron said...

Yum, that looks incredible!

Peter M said...

A very exotic dish, I love the blazing yellow from the saffron!

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Definitely a tagine-like dish - and none the worse for it! Looks delish, and a great way of making sure the chicken doesn't get too dry.

Lis said...

Wow.. your description and that photo has me STARVING at 7:33 in the morning. :P

It looks fabulous, thank you for partcipating - you are the bestest!

Also.. thanks for the mental image of George and the pigs. Not only am I going to look upon the potbellied pig with new respect, but my Saturday has started off with a dreamy smile as I picture dear, sweet, babelicious George walking his pets wearing nothing but a pair of shorts and baby oil. Yes.. yes.. he's walking towards my house.. wait.. what is that in his other hand?? Is that an ENGAGEMENT RING?? Ohhh George!! YES I WILL MARRY YOU and your pigs!!

Happy Saturday to you. :D


test it comm said...

That sounds like a tasty sauce to go with the chicken.

Susan from Food Blogga said...

This is a most elegant dinner, Annemarie. In fact, I've got a lot of company coming over the next few weeks, and this would be perfect! Thanks so much!

Annemarie said...

Hi Joana - Glad you like the sound of it!

Hi Bron - It was easy to pull off put did look - and taste - fairly impressive.

Hi Peter - Yes, that yellow is such an eye-catching effect, isn't it?

Hi Forkful - It does make me want to break out my tagine and do some proper moroccan cooking.

Hi Lis - I knew you'd like the George bit. :) :)

Hi Kevin - Yes, the sauce disappeared about as quickly as the chicken itself did!

Hi Susan - Glad to hear it's given you ideas - it really was ideal company food.

Jeanne said...

Yum - souds like my kind of dish: minimal fuss for maximum results. And as I'm a fan of the fruit/meat combo this one has my name all over it :)

jasmine said...

This looks incredible. I can smell the aromas...