Slow Cooker Saffron Chicken with Basmati Rice

Slow Cooker Saffron Chicken with Basmati Rice- Country Mouse City Spouse Pair saffron chicken with basmati rice for a culinary upgrade that is simple to make using a slow cooker.  Slow Cooker Saffron Chicken with Basmati Rice

Every so often, I like to make something at home that is different than my traditional meat and potatoes or casserole dishes.  Growing up in Northwest Ohio, the heart of a farming community, our food was mostly limited to what we could grow or raise ourselves.  So splurging on spices to dress up what we had on hand was just fun.  This is where I learned about saffron.  Mixing saffron, a traditional European spice with chicken and rice made our butchered chickens just a little fancier.  So I was thrilled when I learned to pair saffron chicken with basmati rice for a  culinary upgrade that is simple to make using a slow cooker.

Read on to get my slow cooker saffron chicken with Basmati rice recipe.

Saffron is not a cheap spice.  It’s also a little different than the normal ground spices we find in the grocer’s spice aisles.  Saffron comes in threads, coming from a breed of crocus plant.  It is native to Southern Europe, and today is enjoyed worldwide thanks to the efforts of farmers in Spain, Italy, France, Greece, Turkey, and  Iran to cultivate it.

 In culinary use, it can be used in its original thread form, ground into a paste using a mortar and pestle, or steeped in water to draw out the flavor and then use the water in your dish.  This recipe involves the latter, steeping method, as I find it to be the simplest.  No need to buy and mortar and pestle for something that you don’t use very often.

Basmati rice is a variety of long-grain rice.  It is very aromatic and is typically a staple in Indian cuisine.  I love the scent of basmati rice.  I do, however, slightly cheat on making it.  Trader Joe’s has a truly spectacular basmati medley that is simple, quick and just as good as the traditional cooking method.

Another nice thing to know about basmati rice is that it has only a 56-69 glycemic index, as opposed to white rice with 89.  This makes it more suitable for diabetics and others who are concerned about gluten intake.

 Click here for more information about the Glycemic Index. 

I also have made this ahead of time as a Freezer Meal.  Instructions on how to make, prepare and store in the freezer follow the recipe below.

Slow Cooker Saffron Chicken with Basmati Rice- Country Mouse City Spouse Pair saffron chicken with basmati rice for a culinary upgrade that is simple to make using a slow cooker.

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Slow Cooker Saffron Chicken with Basmati Rice

Slow Cooker Saffron Chicken with Basmati Rice

Slow Cooker Saffron Chicken with Basmati Rice

Ingredients

  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (approx. 5 lbs.)
  • 2 tsp. fine sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp saffron, torn up or chopped fine
  • 1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large sweet onion, sliced into 1/4" rounds
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 3 tbsp. lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Sprinkle chicken all over with salt. Let sit 30 minutes, covered in refrigerator.
  2. Place saffron in a small glass bowl with 2 tbsp. hot (but not boiling) water.
  3. Stir and let steep 5 minutes.
  4. In a 5 quart slow cooker, arrange onion slices across bottom.
  5. Sprinkle onion with a pinch of the sea salt.
  6. Scatter garlic over the onion.
  7. Place chicken breasts over onion, attempting to only have one layer. (A little overlap is fine.)
  8. Sprinkle with pepper, then lemon juice, then saffron water.
  9. If any saffron sticks in the bowl, just add a bit of hot water, swirl in bowl, and then add to slow cooker.
  10. Cover and cook on LOW 8-10 hours.
  11. Remove chicken to a cutting board, shred into bit size chunks.
  12. Return to slow cooker and let cook an additional 30 minutes.
  13. Serve over basmati rice.
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Freezer Instructions:

Prepare chicken with salt and soak saffron in water.
Add sliced onions, salt, garlic, pepper and saffron water to a large freezer bag.
Top with chicken.
Remove as much air as possible.
Label, date, and freeze until ready to cook.
To cook:
Thaw in the refrigerator.  Place into slow cooker.  Sprinkle with 3 tbsp. of lemon juice.  Cook as directed above.  Enjoy.

Slow Cooker Saffron Chicken with Basmati Rice- Country Mouse City Spouse Pair saffron chicken with basmati rice for a culinary upgrade that is simple to make using a slow cooker.

Slow Cooker Saffron Chicken with Basmati Rice

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