Braised Lemon-Saffron Chicken and Potatoes
In this comforting braise, bone-in chicken and potatoes slowly cook in a lively lemon-saffron bath until the meat is fall-off-the-bone tender and the potatoes are soft and full of flavor. Most of the work in this one-pot dinner happens in the oven, so you can rest or multitask as it cooks. Serve it with rice and spoon the pan juices over top, or with toasted pita to soak up the rich, lemony broth. The whole peppercorns taste delicious and soften in both texture and flavor during the cooking process, but if they are too strong for you, leave them out or crack them before cooking. Leftovers are even better the next day, on top of a salad or tucked into a sandwich.
- Serves: 4 persons
- 1heaping teaspoon saffron threads
- 2tablespoons hot (not boiling) water
- 3pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken parts, preferably thighs and drumsticks
- ½pound yellow or red baby potatoes
- 3tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons olive oil
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- ¾cup fresh lemon juice (from 4 to 6 lemons)
- ½teaspoon whole black peppercorns (optional)
- Cooked rice or toasted pita, for serving
Step 1Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Using a mortar and pestle (or the bottom of a spoon and a bowl), grind the saffron threads into a powder as best you can. Add the 2 tablespoons hot water and stir to combine. Set aside.
Step 2Place the chicken in a 9-by-13-inch roasting pan or baking dish. Cut large potatoes into 1-inch pieces and add to the pan. Drizzle the chicken and potatoes with the oil, then season well with salt and pepper.
Step 3Add the lemon juice to the saffron water, mix to combine, then pour over the chicken and potatoes, stirring to coat. Arrange the chicken skin-side down. Sprinkle evenly with the whole black peppercorns, if using, then cover tightly with foil. (It’s OK if everything is close together.)
Step 4Cook until the meat is tender and easily pulled from the bone, and the potatoes are soft, about 1 1/2 hours. During the last 15 minutes, remove the foil, flip the chicken, stir the potatoes and cook for 15 minutes more, uncovered, to reduce some of the liquid.
Step 5Season with black pepper and serve with rice or pita to soak up the lemony juices.