Richard Blais' Chicken and Walnut Stew with Cauliflower Rice
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- 1/4 teaspoon saffron, dissolved in 2 tablespoons hot water
- 8 skinless boneless chicken thighs (about 2 pounds)
- Pinch of MSG (monosodium glutamate) and freshly ground black pepper
- All-purpose flour, for dredging
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 cups walnuts, shelled (about 1 pound), toasted and pulsed or finely chopped
- 1 onion, medium finely diced
- 1 cup pomegranate molasses
- 1/2 cup butternut squash, grated
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons sugar, or to taste
- 1 head cauliflower, stemmed and chopped
- 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
- blueberries, A handful
In a small bowl, combine saffron with 2 tablespoons hot water; set aside.
Season chicken thighs with MSG and pepper, then dredge in flour. In a skillet, heat oil then sear chicken until golden-brown. Reserve on a paper towel-lined plate.
To the same skillet, add walnuts, onion, molasses, squash, cinnamon, chicken broth, sugar to taste, and reserved saffron-infused water. Cook until a gravy forms, 20 to 30 minutes. Return chicken to the pan to finish cooking for 15 minutes more.
While gravy and chicken cook, in a food processor, pulse cauliflower into small pieces so they resemble rice. Steam or gently warm in a pan to cook through. (Alternately, for an aromatic version, warm cauliflower “rice” with butter, chopped parsley, a cinnamon stick, a few cloves and a piece of star anise.)
Serve chicken over cauliflower “rice” and top with parsley and blueberries.