Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Saffron Chicken and What a Sick Person Eats


The high winds blew me from Phoenix to Denver yesterday. Manservant picked me up at the airport and then we made our way to happy hour. Happy hour is not something we normally do but being St Patrick's Day and the fact that I really was home, prompted us to stop off at McCormick's for some good deals. They had mussels steamed with Guinness in honor of the day, which I can't wait to try at home. Just slurping the broth would make me a happy girl.

Today it is raining snow and though it really isn't sticking, it reminds me of how nice the weather is in Phoenix this time of year. Everything was blooming and fresh, and the birds were out busily looking for areas to nest. Denver is still in the midst of grayness; though I did see hints that the grass was starting to turn green. Not having enough time to get the tan I wanted in Phoenix, I am so looking forward to next month when I fly back. With luck my mom will be doing a jig and we will be able to cook Passover together. Well, I think that's a good thing. You know what they say about too many cooks in the kitchen, right?

I had a busy week playing nurse and now my dad is up to this week's challenge.  Right, Dad? Whereas my mom is always very nice to me, she needs to be a touch easier on my dad, but that is my opinion. He assures me he can take the heat and given that they have been married over fifty years, I know that to be true. He's looking forward to her being able to golf again and though I am still not believing that will happen, I hope it does for their sake.


After helping my parent's out several times, the one thing I can say with assurance is that sickness does not get in the way of eating well in our family. We began with this saffron chicken that really hit the spot after sitting two days in the hospital. The patient then requested wonton soup and reminded the chef that wontons aren't really that hard to make. No, they really aren't, Mom, but when was the last time you made them while caring for someone laid up in bed? Yes, she did get home made wontons. And fresh lo mein. And cod over Meyer lemons. And sandwiches. (How those got in there I'll never know.) And then there was the Boboli pizza because she wanted pizza bad, but couldn't go out for it just yet. And you know pizza delivered is just not the same. I suggested my Boboli which they have never had before and after hearing a diatribe of what needed to be on it and in the sauce and so on and so forth and it would drip cheese in the oven if it wasn't directly on a pan, I was sorry I even brought up the idea of making pizza, but at least she remembered to put her hearing aids in that night and yes this is a run on sentence-and yes, they both were happy with the results. Thank goodness.

And now I am home and they have two different sets of friends bringing them dinner this week. I am thankful for that. My advice is do not ask them what they want. Make it your way. They will eat it. With pleasure. Of course, they will critique you when you leave, but that is a story I can not tell.

Saffron Chicken was adopted from the Jerusalem cookbook. It is warm and soothing and perfect for sick people. At least sick people in my family. It tastes good as leftovers as my aunt can attest, because she didn't want a sandwich. I aim to please! This is a great company dish. Let it marinate and then just throw it it in a pan to bake. I only let this marinate for a few hours but I think it would have been even more outstanding if left overnight. It calls for Jerusalem artichokes which I used because they were easy to find in Phoenix. They taste great raw but are cooked in this dish. If you can't find them use baby potatoes. I used both and they were perfect.



Roasted Saffron Chicken with Jerusalem Artichokes or Potatoes and Lemon

Adapted From: Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
1 lb Jerusalem artichokes, peeled and cut into wedges OR
1 lb Baby new white potatoes cut in half OR
Combo of both
3 T fresh squeezed lemon juice 
8 skin on or bone in chicken thighs or 1 medium whole chicken, cut into pieces
8 large peeled shallots, halved lengthwise
12 large cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
1 leek, sliced and rough chopped
4 carrots, peeled and cut into large pieces
1 medium lemon halved and thinly sliced
1 t saffron threads
2 bay leaves
3 T olive oil
2/3 c water
1/2 t coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 c fresh thyme leaves
1 t salt

Directions:

Put the Jerusalem artichokes and potatoes in medium saucepan. Cover with water and add half the lemon juice. Bring to a boil and lower the heat. Simmer for 10-20 minutes, until tender but NOT soft. Drain and leave to cool.

Place the Jerusalem artichokes or potatoes and all the remaining ingredients except for the lemon juice in two large zip lock bags or a large bowl. Feel free to throw in the lemon rinds also. Use your hands to mix everything together well. Marinate in the fridge overnight of for at least two hours.

Preheat the oven to 475. Arrange the chicken pieces skin side up, in the center of the roasting pan and spread the remaining ingredients around the chicken. You may need two pans to avoid overcrowding. Roast for thirty minutes. Then cover with aluminum foil and cook for another 15 minutes. (I will tell you though that I roasted this without covering for the full 45 minutes and then some. I like my chicken browned and it was not browned in just the thirty minutes alone. You must be careful though to not let it dry out.) Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the reserved lemon juice. Stir well, and taste for salt. Potatoes usually require more salt. 

I served this with rice and a salad. 

Don't forget to enter the $25 Whole Foods Giveaway!

More great Middle East inspired recipes:
Smoky Pumpkin Hummus
Hummus
Mezze
Baba Ganoush
Muhamara
Israeli Salad
Roasted Za'atar Chickpeas
Chicken with Figs, Pumpkin and Red Wine
Chicken Sofrito
Moroccan Fish with Saffron Aioli and Chickpeas
Freekeh
Spinach Salad with Za'atar, Dates and Almonds
Kadaif or Middle Eastern Cheesecake
Ma'aneesh with Za'atar







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54 comments:

  1. Everything about this dish sounds brilliant. Great combination of flavors and such vibrant colors.

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    1. I try Mimi-though sometimes it tries me!

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  3. I can see this being a total comfort to someone not feeling well - and it looks just gorgeous - thank so much for sharing it!

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    1. Thanks Donalyn. This dish turned out so good-and it is so simple! Perfect for company, too!

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  4. I just adore that cookbook, it is one of my favorites. I'm here in Phoenix and yes the weather is pretty nice right now but I would love to have some really cold weather. I think we always want what we cannot have, Hope your mom feels better, so nice of you to take care of her.

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    1. I love Phoenix at this time of year, but I also love it when it is pouring rain! Cold weather gets tiring which is why I love Colorado. It has a great combo of both. Thanks so much Cheri!

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  5. I've heard that this is a wonderful cookbook, but haven't had the pleasure of reading it yet. I'd like to have this dish when I'm not feeling well. It can be tough taking care of people when they are sick...

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    1. Amy, this is a great cookbook. Get it at the library and check it out! It is tough taking care of sick people but it is so nice when they get well. And are appreciative:)

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  6. I've never had mussels steamed with Guinness. Love the idea! Love this saffron chicken, too. I'm actually getting over a cold -- you should bring me some! :D

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    1. They were SO good! I would love to bring you some. You need to get out of the cold. Denver is a nice middle ground!

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  7. Oh, wow! If that is how a sick person eats in your family, Abbe, then I think I want to become part of your family immediately and then come down with something that causes you to need to cook for me! And the first thing I will request? Yeah ... this saffron chicken! And then maybe some okra shrimp bisque ... :D

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    1. Shelley that okra bisque is delish. But maybe not if you are sick! But please stay well!

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  8. Such a flavoursome chicken my friend, with vibrant colours!
    I hope your mum feels well soon :)

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

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  9. I spent some time cooking for my Mom when she was ill and, yes, it could be trying at times. As you said, best not to ask what they want for dinner. :)
    This chicken looks very tasty. love the combo of lemon and chicken. I bet they work very well together here.

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    1. Have to appreciate all the moments, John. Lemon and chicken are great, but throw in the saffron and it reaches the heights!

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  10. Wow, your parents are married for over fifty years?
    What a blessing. It's sweet to hear how you spoil them, when they are sick.
    The chicken sounds and looks delightful and tender.

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    1. Not many like that anymore! It is a blessing and we should all be so spoiled!

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  11. Saffron has given this chicken dish such a beautiful colour. Not sure I can find Jerusalem artichokes over here...might just throw some potatoes or mushrooms in it to absorb all the gravy :-)

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    1. I used potatoes and Jerusalem artichokes. First time I ever tried them. They tasted great raw. In the dish, it was hard to decipher betwwen them and the potatoes. But, I just love trying new ingredients!

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  12. Your chicken sounds wonderful! We completely understand how you worry about parents who need special care then they get sick. We hope your Dad is feeling better. And, that book sounds amazing! Have a great day! xxoo

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    1. I think my Dad is feeling better knowing that my mom is getting well! It is an amazing cookbook and I cook a lot from it!

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  13. Sadly, when my Dad was sick, nothing tasted good to him - he said everything tasted like metal - probably from the chemo. I can't even remember the last meal he ate before he died because he'd been on a feeding tube for so many months.

    I am sure your Dad is used to how your Mom talks. My Mom is a "do this do that" kind of person instead of "could you, please and thank you." We are just used to it though!

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    1. I can't imagine how tough that must have been. Luckily, we are still counting our blessings. You do get used to it!

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  14. You'll be the first person I call when I'm sick :) It is hard to look after recovering people, especially parents. I had to watch my dad after his triple bypass, and it was not easy.
    But you are a wonderful daughter and I know they appreciate you.
    As for this saffron chicken, I love anything from that book! This looks divine.
    BTW, I'm going to be in Greenwood Village next Wednesday, are you free in the afternoon for coffee? I'll message you :)

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    1. My dad has been through that, too! Thanks, Nazneen and I'm hoping this finally works out!

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  15. The chicken looks beautiful with its intense color...and so flavorful!
    I hope your dad is feeling better Abbe...take care my dear :D

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    1. Thanks Juliana. It is a pretty chicken dish and I love all the stuff my mom has to use. Of course that won't make it any easier if they move!

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  16. I've been sick. Were have you BEEN?? I'm actually and finally on the mend; a bit tired but no more night of coughing my lungs out so we should get a date back on our schedule soon.

    Now for this dish...just an oh my I want it bad is all I can say. I want it ALL!!

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    1. Bad? How bad? Yes, we should get a date and it best be soon-at least before I leave again!

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  17. I really, really need to buy Jerusalem...I've been eying it for a long time! Your chicken looks fantastic. Hope your mom will be good as new soon...how nice of you to give her and your dad some TLC. Maybe I shouldn't mention that I'm poolside in Phoenix with gorgeous blue skies??? I'm sure spring will arrive in Denver very soon :)

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    1. The only thing poolside in Phoenix when I was there was this plate of chicken when I photographed it. You lucky girl!

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  18. Just got my copy of the Jerusalem cookbook and can't wait to dive in! This looks pretty wonderful. I bet your parents really appreciate your help. Caring for the sick is just not easy on anybody! Hope spring shows up soon in Denver :)

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    1. They do appreciate it and I am happy to do it. You will love that book, Tricia!

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  19. ooooh, the Jerusalem cookbook! it's on my list (and has been for too long) after repeated rentals from the library. I don't know why i just don't get it, but i need to. Best wishes for your mom, Abbe.

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    1. Thanks, Shannon! You really should buy it. I use it a lot!

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  20. It's not easy caring for the parentals, I know. You could care for me anytime with this saffron chicken. :)

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    1. I know you know Maureen, but someone's got to do it! I would happily fly to Australia and take care of you. Just send the ticket!

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  21. I love that chicken on the blue plate. And what a nice stop for happy hour. I've never been there, but drive by it all the time and say "why haven't I ever been there"?

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    1. Thanks Lea Ann. It was a good stop and a good happy hour. Check it out!

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  22. I hope every is on recovery in your family. I love your saffron chicken. It just pops against that blue plate. Great colors and flavors and looks like my kind of meal, even if I am not sick. Have a super weekend. BAM

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    1. Thanks Bam! It is a great dish for company and EVEN boys!

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  23. Wow, I know who I am calling when I get sick----although I would rather eat this delicious dish when I well and thus truly savor it. It looks as good as the recipe too. As an aside I wouldn't mind being in Phoenix right now either. Albeit it has been a lovely spring beginning where I live in the Pacific NW.

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    1. I bet you are having a gorgeous spring! Make this chicken dish. It turned out to be one that will appear in my repertoire over and over!

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  24. I'm going to demand (sweetly) my husband make this next time I'm sick, after all, he can't say no to a sick girl, right? ;)

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    1. Demand sweetly? Didn't know there was such a thing, Pamela! But if he's smart, he won't say no!

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  25. LOL manservant!
    My manservant can't boil water, so that's out. But he knows how to bring home stuff from whole foods, so this is a win win.

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    1. Most definitely a win win. And that way the kitchen doesn't get dirty!

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  26. What can I say, you must be the master chef.

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