Readers of my food blogs are used to extremely high-fat recipes.
This one does call for half a stick of butter, but you can reduce that if you decide to wuss out on the fat. The heavy cream is non-negotiable because of how the saffron suffuses it with all its subtle flavor notes.
This is “white food,” i.e., comfort food with cream and butter and a hint of sweet.
Jennifer’s Chicken with Saffron Cream Sauce
Preheat oven to 325oF.
Five or six boneless, skinless chicken thighs, washed, drained, and dried
8 oz chicken stock, heated
4 T butter, melted
1-2 T anise seeds, pounded a bit in a mortar
1-2 cloves of garlic, smashed
pinch of saffron
1/2 cup heavy cream
Put the stock and the next four ingredients together in a bowl and stir it up. Cover and let sit until the saffron has started to dissolve and the anise seeds are plumping up.
Lay the chix thighs in a shallow, buttered casserole that has a cover.
Pour the stock mixture over the thighs. Cover and bake for 40 minutes at 325oF or until the chicken is cooked through but still tender.
Remove the chicken to a serving dish.
Pour the stock mixture into a saucepan. Heat and reduce by half. Add the heavy cream and cook slightly until not-quite-boiling.
You may also add 1T cornstarch to the stock mixture when it is done reducing and before adding the heavy cream, to thicken it. I don’t. But then, I use the leftover sauce to flavor scrambled eggs in the morning. Yom!
This recipe doesn’t work as well with chicken breasts, which dry out too readily and have less flavor than chicken thighs.
One large Vidalia onion, slice super-thin and laid over the top of the chicken breasts.
One fennel bulb, sliced ditto and laid ditto.
One bland potato (white baking potato or similar) per person, cooked whole with the chicken, then sliced in coins, and served with the saffron sauce poured over it.