Baked Saffron Chicken with Asparagus and Butter Beans


Baked Saffron Chicken with Asparagus and Butter Beans
Servings: 6


6 whole chicken legs (preferably organic)
6 tablespoons olive oil
6 tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon crushed and pounded saffron threads (or good-quality powered saffron)
450g fresh asparagus spears
300g new season's baby carrots, scrubbed
1 litre chicken stock
600g bottled white butter beans
pinch saffron threads
8 large fresh basil leaves, cut into fine threads

Recipe by: Lauraine Jacobs
Publication: The Confident Cook (Jan 2006)
Recipe ID: 100289


The colours in this spring dish are smashing. The crispy crust on the baked chicken legs and thighs gives a crunchy contrast to the best of the new spring vegetables: asparagus and baby carrots. They are tossed together with large white Spanish butter beans in a light chicken and saffron broth. My friends at Sabato import high-quality Spanish products and their large jars of El Navarrico butter beans are superb.



Preheat the oven to 190°C. Cut the chicken legs into thighs and drumsticks. Rub the chicken with two tablespoons of the oil to form a light coating. Put the flour, salt, pepper and saffron in a bowl and combine well. Rub this mixture over the surface of the chicken.

Heat the remaining oil in a frying pan and gently fry the chicken until golden. Transfer to an ovenproof baking dish and bake for 30minutes until cooked through but still juicy.

Meanwhile cut the asparagus into 6cm lengths, discarding the tough woody ends, then boil the asparagus and baby carrots separately, each in a little chicken stock until just tender. Drain both and retain the carrot cooking stock. Set the vegetables aside and keep warm.

Heat the beans in their juices, then drain and keep warm.

Reheat the carrot cooking stock with a few pounded saffron threads. Simmer to reduce to one large cupful.

To serve, place a chicken leg and thigh in the centre of each plate and surround with vegetables and beans. Reheat the carrot cooking stock for one minute then pour the sauce to surround the dish but not swamp it. Garnish with basil.



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