Friday, 25 November 2011

Chicken In Saffron Sauce

Chicken In Saffron Sauce

The history of Saffron is colorful as are the dried stigmas of the saffron crocus . Kashmirs legend states that saffron first arrived in the 11th or 12th century AD, when two Sufi ascetics, Khwaja Masood Wali and Hazrat Sheikh Shariffudin, wandered into Kashmir. They having fallen sick, asked a cure for their illness from a local tribal chieftain. When cured, the two holy men reputedly gave them a saffron crocus bulb as payment and thanks.

Cleopatra being more practical used a quarter-cup of saffron in her warm baths, as she prized its colouring and cosmetic properties. She used it before encounters with men, trusting that saffron would render lovemaking yet more pleasurable !

Saffron is used all over the world  to flavour and colour dishes from Spanish paella to French bouillabaisse to Arabic lamb and chicken dishes to Indian desserts and biryanis . Swedish and Cornish recipes amongst others make use of this very expensive herb .

300 Grams Boneless Thigh Chicken ( cut in fingers or desired size )

Marinade the chicken in 1 tablespoon each olive oil , ginger and garlic with some salt and pepper . Set aside for 2 hours or longer .
Stir fry the chicken without any additional oil . Cook over high heat for 1 minute till chicken changes color , then cover and on low heat cook for another 7-10 minutes till done .Set aside to use later .

Saffron Sauce :

1/2 Cup Shallots ( chopped small ).
1 Teaspoon Olive Oil.
1/2 Cup Dry Wine.
4 Tablespoons Cream.
25 Grams Chilled Butter .
8-10 Strands Saffron.
Salt / Pepper ( to taste , taste your dish first , the chicken has salt )
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice ( again check if you need it as the white wine gives that tangy flavor )

Cut your butter into 4 pieces , keep chilled in the fridge . 

In a dash of olive oil saute the onions just for 20-30 seconds 

then add the wine. Let it simmer , slowly  adding a chunk of butter at a time while stirring the mixture . Don't boil ! 

When reduced to half , add the saffron strands , cover and take off the flame . Set aside for 20-30 minutes to infuse flavors . 

Return to a low heat , strain your chicken over the pan using whatever cooked chicken juices remain and marry them into the sauce . 

When ready to serve add cream to the sauce. Warm the chicken and the sauce . Plate the chicken spooning the sauce over the chicken . 

A very simple and elegant dish .

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