“The method for cooking chicken in this recipe, scoring bone-in chicken, crisping skin then steaming the meat without turning it, is Jacques Pepin’s. It’s brilliant, as is he. The texture of the meat is buttery yet the skin remains brown and crisp.”
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/3 cup broken bits of spaghetti or 1/4 cup orzo pasta
- 1/3 cup (a fat handful) toasted or roasted Marcona almonds, chopped
- 1 cup long grain white rice
- Salt and pepper
- A fat pinch (about 24 threads) saffron
- 1 tablespoons each lemon and orange zest
- 1 3/4 cups chicken stock
- Juice of 1 lemon
- For the chicken: 8 large, bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 small onion or 1 large shallot, finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon pimentón (smoked sweet paprika)
- About 1/3 to 1/2 cup chicken stock or water
- 1 14-ounce can diced or crushed tomatoes
- Thinly sliced scallions and chopped flat-leaf parsley, to garnish
For the rice, in a saucepot over medium to medium-high heat, melt butter. Add pasta and toast to dark golden and fragrant. Add nuts, rice, salt, pepper, saffron and lemon and orange zests, stir a minute then add stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, cover tightly and cook 15 minutes, shaking occasionally. Stir in the lemon juice and let sit, covered, for 10 minutes then fluff with a fork.
Using a sharp paring or utility knife, cut along both sides of the bone in the chicken thighs, scoring the meat near bone. Season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper.
Heat a large skillet with a tight-fitting lid over medium-high heat with EVOO, a turn of the pan. Melt the butter into the oil then add chicken, skin-side down. Brown the skin 3-4 minutes—do not turn it. Cover pan with the lid and cook chicken about 15-18 minutes, remove to warm platter and cover or place in low oven. Add onions and garlic to the pan, season with paprika, salt and pepper. Stir 2 minutes then add sherry and reduce by half. Add stock or water and tomatoes, and thicken a couple of minutes more.
Serve chicken with the crispy skin side up and sauce spooned over the top. Or, return chicken to pan, coat and serve from skillet itself with the Saffron Rice alongside.
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