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Alta Editions is an award-winning publisher of web-based cookbooks. We publish stories and exclusive recipes from some of the world's most inspiring chefs.

Saffron Chicken Pilaf with Arugula Pistou

Chef Laurent Gras Recipes

Saffron Chicken Pilaf with Arugula Pistou

Alta Editions

Rich flavors of saffron and roast chicken are balanced by the complex pistou, which combines acidity from lemon, bitterness from arugula, saltiness from capers, and sweetness from raisins.
— Laurent Gras

This Provence-inspired Saffron Chicken Pilaf with Arugula Pistou recipe is a preview from chef Laurent Gras's multiple IACP award-winning cookbook, My Provence.

4 servings   |   Prep Time: 30 minutes   |   Cooking Time: 5 minutes

 

Ingredients

For the Pilaf

  • 4 chicken thighs, skin on
  • Sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) canola oil
  • 2 cups (400 ml) chicken stock or water
  • Pinch saffron threads
  • Cayenne pepper
  • ¼ cup (50 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ medium (100 g) white onion, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 cup (200 g) long-grain rice
  • ½ cup (100 g) green peas, fresh or frozen
  • 1 cup (200 g) cherry tomatoes, split in half

For the Arugula Pistou

  • 1 lemon
  • ½ cup (100 g) water
  • 2 teaspoons (10 g) sugar
  • ⅓ cup (70 ml) extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 ounces (50 g) arugula leaves, stems removed
  • 2 ounces (50 g) baby spinach
  • 1 tablespoon (15 g) capers, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon (15 g) green olives, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons (30 g) golden raisins, soaked in warm water for 30 minutes and drained
  • Freshly ground white pepper
  • Sea salt

Saffron Pilaf with Shrimp

  • 1 ¼ pounds (600 g), about 16, large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 ½ tablespoons (20 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

Saffron Pilaf with Salmon

  • 1 ¼ pounds (600 g) salmon fillets or other fish
  • Sea salt

Method

For the Pilaf

  1. Remove the central bone from the chicken thighs, keeping the skin intact, by cutting the length of the bone on the underside of the thigh. Keep the blade of the knife on the bone and pull back the flesh as you work. Season the chicken thighs with salt. Heat a cast-iron pan over high heat. Add the canola oil. Sear the thighs, skin side down, until crispy, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  2. In a small saucepan, combine the chicken stock with a pinch of saffron and cayenne pepper, to taste, and bring to a boil. Set the pressure cooker base over low heat and add the olive oil. Sweat the onion until soft, about 5 minutes. Season with salt, add the rice, and mix well with the cooked onions. Pour in the hot chicken broth. Add the peas and tomatoes. Arrange the chicken thighs, skin side up, in the pressure cooker. Close the pressure cooker and turn the heat to high. Lower the heat and close the release valve. From the time the first steam is released, count 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the pot rest for 5 minutes before opening the lid.

For the Arugula Pistou

  1. Using a vegetable peeler, zest half of the lemon. Place the zest in a small saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat, drain, and rinse. Squeeze the juice of the whole lemon and strain it into the small saucepan with the blanched zest. Add the water and sugar and simmer over low heat until the liquid is almost reduced. Chop the zest finely to a paste.
  2. Place a large sauté pan over high heat. Add 1 ½ tablespoons (20 ml) of the olive oil and sauté the arugula and spinach quickly until they wilt. Transfer to a strainer, squeeze out the juices by pressing with the back of a spoon, and cool down quickly, in a freezer if you have room. When cold, chop finely using a chef’s knife. In a mixing bowl, combine the greens with capers, olives, lemon zest, raisins, and the remaining olive oil. Season with salt and white pepper. Mix well. Serve with the pilaf.

For the Saffron Pilaf with Shrimp Variation

  1. Place the shrimp on a paper towel and season with salt. Set a medium sauté pan over high heat. Add the olive oil and sear the shrimp on both sides until cooked to medium rare. Place the shrimp in the pressure cooker as indicated with the seared chicken thigh. Follow the rest of the recipe as indicated.

For the Saffron Pilaf with Salmon Variation

  1. Cut the salmon into 4 equal serving portions. Season with salt. Place the salmon in the pressure cooker as indicated with the seared chicken thighs. Follow the rest of the recipe as indicated.

Get this recipe and over 40 other delicious Provence-inspired dishes in Laurent Gras: My Provence, the award-winning online cookbook from renowned chef Laurent Gras, for FREE (a $9.99 value!) when you sign up for the Alta Editions Cooking Series. Get It Now button