Total Time: 40-50 minutes
a generous pinch of saffron
6 tablespoon warm water
2 tablespoon olive oil
4 boneless and skinless chicken
breasts (about 600g/1lb 5oz total weight), each cut into chunks
2 sprigs thyme
2 medium onions, sliced
3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
juice of 1 lime
1 red pepper, seeded and cut into strips
100ml dry white wine
125ml light chicken stock
250g basmati rice
100g frozen peas (or fresh, cooked)
Put the saffron in a small bowl and pour over the warm water. Bruise the strands with the back of a teaspoon to fix the colour, and set aside while you prepare the rest.
Heat the olive oil in a large, weighty casserole, and when hot tip in the chicken. Stir fry for a minute or two over a high heat to seal in the juices, then set aside.
Strip the leaves from the thyme sprigs and scatter into the pan along with the onions and garlic. Fry until golden then pour in the lime juice. Turn the heat down a tad, add the pepper and continue cooking for another 5 minutes before adding the wine, stock and seasoning. Return the chicken to the pan and simmer for 6 minutes until the meat is tender and the liquid has cooked down a little.
Meanwhile, cook the rice in a pan of fast boiling water until tender, but with a slight bite. Drain in a colander and rinse with warm water. Heap over the chicken while still on the heat. Drizzle with the saffron and its soaking liquid, and scatter over the peas. Don’t stir the chicken and rice at this stage, but cover and cook over a low-moderate heat until the rice is fluffy and the liquid reduced to a few tablespoons – about 3 minutes. Before serving, gently mix the saffron-streaked rice with the chicken and pepper mixture.