Chicken and yellow rice~ sans the yellow dye
A few months’ ago, my mother gave me stacks of old cookbooks. In the stack of dusty and tattered bindings were titles ranging from diet fads of the 70’s (grapefruit diet, anyone?) to more modern gems like Nigella.
But. the diamond in the bunch was an old navy blue cloth covered binder, it’s once pointed corners now frayed, worn and rounded with time… bursting with handwritten recipes collected over a span of 70 years, small amber colored clippings from newspapers and magazines, and assorted labels from wine bottles, that were carefully soaked off and dried, and noted on in my grandmother’s old world penmanship, “Good” “Too Sweet” or “Excellent”. I never knew my grandmother was such a connoisseur of wine.
After spending several hours absorbing the contents of the binder, I also learned that my grandmother loved carrots. A slew of carrot themed recipes, from carrots in aspic to carrot souffle to classic carrot cake, pages of assorted clippings and notes that all had one ingredient in common; carrots.
Another noteworthy ingredient/theme she seemed rather fond of was spaghetti sauce- spaghetti sauce recipes, in particular. There must have been 15 of those at least… I wonder if it was one of her culinary quests while she was here? The search for that “perfect” sauce recipe? It seems everyone has a favorite food that they search to replicate. For me, it’s the pink frosted cookies I had at a department store when I was 6. It was in celebration of the introduction of Belle. (Snoopy’s girlfriend) I have yet to re-create those.
You can learn a lot about someone by seemingly random belongings.
For instance, she had my aunt’s handwritten recipe.
My aunt, her daughter in law’s sister. I had no clue they were close enough to exchange recipes.
So, oddly- first recipe from the batch that I decided to try was, in fact, not my grandmothers, it was my aunt’s My aunt who is still living today, who I
want to need to visit, and who, also, was the first person to take me to Disney World when I was 13.
My aunt, who drew these fantastic, whimsical pictures for my grandparents of them every year for their anniversary. Pictures of the two of them, and their little home was a tiny castle, with rabbits and squirrels and frogs scampering about their feet, as if the castle were a haven for all life. I need to find out what happened to those pictures…..
The pictures hung in a green room, with a huge rounded couch and a small glass top table where they would have their lunch at. On top of the table a small fish tank with two small pet aquatic frogs living in it. You see, my grandmother loved frogs. And, my grandfather loved her so… they had pet frogs at the lunch table.
Love makes you do stuff like that.
Back to the recipe:
This recipe has always been one of those recipes I have hunted for, living in South Florida, a walk around my neighborhood in the evening brings for a slew of heavenly aromas; smoky grills, pungent garlic, roasting chicken… and there is that smell; that comforting chicken soup on a cold day smell that makes you long for home.
This is that smell, folks.
Dinner always tastes better when you can smell it cooking hours before.Most recipes for yellow rice call for a package of yellow rice, which is commonly loaded with dyes, sodium and preservatives. This one, however, uses saffron.
I am fortunate enough to be a part of the Raw Spice Bar, a company that sends you small batch herbs and spices from around the world (and recipes) every month. For $6 it’s well worth it. As you can guess, this month I got saffron. (YAY!)
I hope you enjoy this recipe.
And, take the time to enjoy your loved ones while they’re still here.
- 3 lbs fryer chicken cut up
- ½ cup Spanish olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 large ripe tomato, peeled and chopped
- ½ green bell pepper, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 2 cups long grain rice
- ½ cup peas
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tbs salt
- pinch toasted saffron
- 1 cup hot chicken broth
- ¼ cup dry white wine
- 1 sprig parsley
- 2¼ cup chicken broth (in addition to the 1 cup)
- 1 pimento cut into strips
- In a large oven proof saucepan with a tight fitting lid brown chicken until golden
- Remove chicken and set aside
- Add onion and green pepper to drippings in skillet, saute until transparent
- Add tomato, garlic, lemon juice, bay leaf, salt and mix well.
- Dissolve the saffron into the hot chicken broth (1 cup) and combine with ¼ cup wine
- Pour into skillet and add parsley
- Add chicken to skillet and cook over medium heat 15 min
- Add rice and stir in the 2 /4 cups chicken broth, bring to a boil
- Cover and place in a preheated 325 oven for 20 min.
- Alternately, you may reduce heat to simmer and continue to cook 20 min over stove
- Once rice is tender, garnish with peas and pimento and sprinkle with lots of dry wine. Allow to set 15 minutes before serving