I can think of three times in my life when I would use saffron. One of them is paella, of course, and the other is in any other saffron rice dish. The third time was tonight’s dinner, a Giada de Laurentiis recipe I saw her make on TV.
I was a little weary, once I started cooking, that I wouldn’t like that unique saffron flavor. I don’t even know how to describe it. It’s just….saffron. Anyhow, this recipe combines shallots, garlic, white wine, chicken stock, saffron, cream and parsley. How could that go wrong?
Saffron is known for being the most expensive food item in the world. But you can avoid spending $12 for one pinch of these delicate red threads if you know where to go. First, the local Hispanic market. Second, any “bent can” store, like Grocery Outlet. And finally, Trader Joe’s! Come on, you know you’re going there anyways for $2.99 wine.
Here’s Giada’s recipe:
4 chicken breasts pounded thin or 4 cutlets
2 T EVOO
2 shallots, sliced thin
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 c. dry white wine (I used Pinot Grigio)
2 1/2 c. chicken stock
1/4 tsp. or one pinch of saffron threads
1/2 c. heavy cream
salt and pepper
Italian parsley, one handful chopped
Warm the olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Season the chicken cutlets with salt and pepper. Cook the chicken until golden and cooked through, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to serving plate and tent with foil to keep warm.
Turn the heat to medium, add the shallot and the garlic and cook until tender, about 2 minutes.
Deglaze the pan with the white wine. Using a wooden spoon, scrape all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook until the wine is almost evaporated.
Add the chicken broth and saffron threads, bring to a simmer and reduce for 10 minutes. Add the cream, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine and simmer for 1 minute to blend the flavors. Pour the sauce over the chicken.
Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately. I made some polenta cakes to go along, but you could use anything else to accompany. It had a really rich and complex flavor. And what a beautiful color the saffron made! Enjoy, friends.