This beautiful dish boasts the lovely saffron, which provides a vibrant colourful rice, and when paired with baby carrots, creates a healthy, colourful dish, perfect for a skin friendly lunch or dinner.
Saffron is a natural antihistamine, which has been used for centuries as a digestive aid for people with gut issues. It also offers wonderful antioxidants effects, which work to protect the cells from oxidative stress.
If you are following the FID (Food Diagnosis Program) you can sub the baby carrots for an FID friendly vegetable such as green beans or brussels sprouts.
If you are vegan or vegetarian, roasted chickpeas would be a lovely alternative for the chicken (cooking time may vary).
Serves: 2- 3 people, depending on appetite
Prep time; 40 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes
For the chicken
4 skinless chicken thighs
¼ teaspoon of salt
3 medium - large cloves of fresh garlic, crushed
3 tablespoon of fresh chopped chives
4 tablespoon of fresh chopped shallots
4 teaspoon rice bran oil
4 teaspoons of maple syrup
¼ cup of filtered water - additional water can be added during cooking if the chicken is getting too dry.
For the Saffron Rice
2 pinches of saffron threads- about 20 threads
1 cup of basmati rice (brown or short grain rice can also be used, cooking time will vary)
1 ¾ cup of water or alkaline vegetable broth
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
¼ tsp salt
For the Vegetables
1 bunch of baby carrots
Rinse chicken thighs and set aside. Place chopped chives, shallots and garlic into a bowl with the water, maple syrup and salt, and stir together. Add in chicken thighs and coat the chicken with the marinade. Place in the fridge to marinate for a minimum of 30 minutes.
For the Chicken and Vegetables
Preheat oven to 200 deg C (400 deg F)
Remove the chicken from the fridge when it has marinated for at least 30 minutes. Peel and rinse baby carrots, set aside. Place chicken thighs in a baking dish covered with the marinade. Place carrots around the chicken in the baking dish. Cover the baking dish with aluminium foil or an oven proof lid and place in the preheated oven for 15 minutes.
Remove from the oven after 15 minutes, turn the chicken and carrots over, replace with the foil and bake for another 15 minutes. Be sure to use oven mitts as the dish will be hot.
After 15 minutes, remove the baking dish, remove the foil, cover the chicken with the sauce that should be at the bottom of the dish to ensure they do not dry out, turn over again if needed, and place back into the oven uncovered for about another 15 minutes, total cooking time will be about 45 minutes, but may vary depending on the type of oven and size of your chicken thighs.
At about the 40 minute mark, check chicken, ideally you want it to be cooked and moist on the inside, and a little browned on the outside. At this stage, the baby carrots should also be cooked through and soft when using a fork or knife to test.
For the rice
When the chicken is about 20 minutes from being ready, you can start the saffron rice.
Rinse the rice well in a colander until water runs clear.
Steep the saffron threads in ¼ cup of boiling water for about 10 minutes.
Place the saffron water and the additional water into a pot and stir together. Add the rice, garlic powder and salt into the pot, stir together, then cover with a lid and bring to the boil. Once lightly boiling, reduce to a simmer for about 8 -10 minutes. When you think it looks ready you can remove the lid to quickly test the rice, then cover again with the lid, rice can still have a little bit of crunch as it will continue to cook once the heat is off. When rice is ready, turn the heat off, but leave the lid on for about another 10 minutes. Once the chicken is ready to take out of the oven, remove the lid from the rice, and using a fork fluff the rice up and stir lightly if you need to distribute some of the saffron colour through the rice.
Place ingredients on a serving plate, covering the rice with the chicken and carrots, and dress with additional shallots, chives, and if you would like additional flavour you can top with caramelised leeks.