Saffron Chicken with Parsley and Lemon
If you like the distinctive flavor of saffron, this Saffron Chicken with Parsley and Lemon is a traditional way to use it, and this delicious chicken is low-carb, Keto, low-glycemic, gluten-free, South Beach Diet friendly, and can be Paleo if you skip the butter! Use the Recipes-by-Diet-Type Index to find more recipes like this one.
Have you ever cooked with saffron? It’s widely acknowledged to be the most expensive spice in the world, but you only need a tiny pinch to add delicious flavor to a dish like Paella, Saffron Rice, and this delicious Saffron Chicken which I first tasted when my Iranian friend Massoud made it for me.
When I made this recipe for the blog in 2005 I consulted Mark Bittman’s The Best Recipes in the World and tried to remember how Massoud had done it. For this updated version I did a little more online research and ended up revising my original instructions just a bit. Saffron is maybe an acquired taste, but people crave it all over the middle east, and I thought it was delicious in this Saffron Chicken.
Massoud and Mark Bittman would both probably make this with chicken thighs, but I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts and they worked great. I cut the breasts on the diagonal to make small cutlets. Heat 1 T olive oil and a tiny bit of butter in a heavy pan and brown the chicken pieces quickly using medium-high heat. Take care not to overcook the chicken in this step.
Remove the chicken to a plate, add the slivered onions and cook over low heat until the onions are nicely browned, about 12-15 minutes. Remove the onions to a second plate. Heat the chicken stock in the microwave until it’s very warm, then stir in the saffron.
Put the chicken back into the pan, arrange the onions over the chicken, and pour the saffron-infused chicken stock over. Cover the pan and cook over a very low simmer for about 30 minutes without turning the chicken. After 30 minutes, add the lemon juice and parsley, and a bit of water if needed and simmer 10-15 minutes more. Serve hot, over rice if desired.
More Tasty Recipes with Saffron:
Risotto with Shrimp and Asparagus ~ The Perfect Pantry
Grilled Salmon Packets with Tomatoes, Olives, Garlic, Thyme, and Saffron ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Saffron Roasted Cauliflower ~ Chocolate and Zucchini
Whole Wheat Couscous with Saffron and Onions ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Squash Soup with Saffron and Ginger ~ Andrea Meyers
Saffron Chicken with Parsley and Lemon
If you like the distinctive flavor of saffron, this Saffron Chicken with Parsley and Lemon is a traditional way to use it.
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or use 4 -5 boneless, skinless chicken thighs if you prefer)
- 1 large or 2 small onions, cut in lengthwise slivers (this is a little more onion than original recipe)
- 1 T olive oil
- 1 T butter (or more if you prefer)
- pinch saffron (about 1/4 tsp. or less)
- 3/4 cup chicken stock (this is a little more chicken stock than original recipe)
- 1 1/2 T fresh lemon juice (this is a little more lemon than original recipe)
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
- Trim all visible fat and tendons from chicken breasts and cut in 1/2 strips on the diagonal to make small cutlets. Peel the onions and cut into lengthwise slivers and chop parsley.
- Use a heavy frying pan which is not too large and has a tight-fitting lid. Heat the olive oil and butter, then brown the chicken quickly over medium-high heat. (Don’t let it cook long enough that the outside starts to get hard. The chicken does not need to be cooked through.)
- Remove chicken to a plate, add onion, and brown over very low heat until edges of onion pieces are turning golden, about 12-15 minutes. Remove browned onions to another plate. Add chicken back to pan, and cover with onions.
- Heat chicken stock, add saffron and stir to dissolve, then pour over chicken and onions. Simmer on very low heat with pan covered 30-45 minutes.
- Add chopped parsley, lemon juice, and a tiny bit of additional water if needed, and simmer 15 minutes more. Serve hot, over rice if desired.
Recipe from Massoud and The Best Recipes in the World.
Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
Saffron Chicken with Parsley and Lemon made with boneless-skinless chicken breasts would be approved for any phase of the South Beach diet, and it would also work for other low-carb eating plans. South Beach would prefer limited amounts of butter, but you could use more butter if you’re following a low-carb/high-fat eating plan.
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