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Pilaf with Saffron

Serves 6 servings

Originally aired

INGREDIENTS
  • 4 to 5 cups chicken stock or poaching liquid if poaching your own chicken
  • A fat pinch saffron threads
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 pound thin linguine, broken into 2-inch pieces 
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 turns of the pan
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, finely chopped  
  • 3 tablespoons golden raisins or currants
  • 4 cups pulled cooked chicken (use store-bought rotisserie or poach your own*)
  • 1 cup fresh shelled peas
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds or pine nuts, toasted  
  • 1 tablespoon lemon or orange zest
  • 1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • * For the chicken:
  • 1 4-pound chicken
  • 2 carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 1 leek, halved and quartered across
  • 1 onion, halved
  • 2 celery ribs with leafy tops, quartered across
  • 2 large cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 large fresh bay leaves
  • 6 to 8 peppercorns
  • 1 lemon, sliced
PREPARATION

* If poaching your own chicken: Place chicken in a pot with the poaching ingredients. Add enough water to just cover chicken. Place over medium-high heat and bring to low rolling boil. Season water with salt, reduce heat and poach 45-60 minutes, turning once. Cool in the poaching liquid to room temp. Remove chicken from skin and bones and dice or pull into bite-sized pieces. Strain poaching liquid. 

Heat stock in a medium pot with saffron threads--do not boil, just heat stock enough to steep in the flavor of the saffron.

Heat a large, deep skillet with a lid over medium heat. Add butter and melt. When it foams, add pasta and stir to toast until deep golden. Remove to plate and add olive oil, onions and garlic to the skillet, and stir 3-5 minutes to soften. Add rice and stir 1 minute; add salt, pepper, thyme and raisins. Add saffron-infused stock and pasta, and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and cover pan. Simmer 15 minutes, add chicken and peas, and stir. Cover and cook 3 minutes longer then turn off heat and let stand 5 minutes. Add nuts, citrus zest and parsley, fluff with fork and serve.

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