Saffron is an unusual flavor that I’m not totally sure about. On one hand, I associate it with delicious Spanish dishes like paella, but on the other hand, it has a strange essence. The turmeric color it releases is beautiful, but that earthy flavor easily overwhelms my palette, so I have to be careful how I use it.
This Spanish-inspired dish uses saffron along with a bunch of garlic and almonds to create a rich, creamy sauce served with chicken. It is quite similar to a curry, so I am calling it Spanish Chicken Curry. The almonds puree with fresh bread crumbs to thicken the sauce without the aid of dairy products. I love that trick.
While I only used a small pinch of saffron threads (get these at Trader Joe’s – way cheaper!), I still found the flavor a bit strong. Grant loved it and ate all the leftovers, so perhaps the problem lies with my pickiness. My senses have been much more acute lately…
I made this with an easy rice side – simply cooking a little tomato in oil in your rice pot, then stirring in the uncooked rice and proceeding as normal. The tomato broke down into a nice light-red tinge gently coating the rice, providing a sweet bed for my chicken and sauce.
This recipe has a few steps, but the sauce can be made in advance and simply added in where the recipe calls for it. Note that I used boneless skinless chicken because it’s just so much easier to eat!
Adapted from Bon Appeit:
Chicken with Almond-Garlic Saffron Sauce
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds
- 2 cups 1/2-inch cubes crustless white bread
- 4 garlic cloves
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 2/3 cup dry Sherry or white wine
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper plus more for seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
- Kosher salt
- 4 chicken legs (I used 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts)
- 1 onion, minced
- 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
Heat 3 Tbsp. olive oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add almonds and stir until golden brown, about 3 minutes; transfer to paper towels. Place 1/3 cup almonds in a blender or food processor. Set aside remaining almonds for garnish.
Add bread cubes and garlic to same pot. Cook, stirring frequently, until bread is golden brown and crisp, 4–5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to blender. Add broth, wine, 1/2 tsp. pepper, saffron, and a large pinch of salt; process until almost smooth. Set aside.
Heat remaining 1 Tbsp. olive oil in same pot over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Add to pot and cook, turning down heat if needed to prevent burning, until chicken is golden brown on all sides, about 12 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate.
Add onion to pot; cook, stirring often, until onion is caramelized around edges, about 6 minutes. Add sauce and chicken to pot, pushing down chicken to submerge. Bring sauce to a simmer, cover, and reduce heat to low. Simmer until chicken is just cooked through, approx. 10 minutes for me, but depends on the thickness of your chicken. Bone-in chicken will take 20 min. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Divide chicken and sauce among bowls. Garnish each serving with reserved almonds and chopped parsley.
Enjoy, friends! xoxo