Braised Chicken with Tomato, Honey and Saffron

We served this at our dinner party last Saturday, along wth couscous, carrots and a tossed green salad. An easy recipe for a cold winter’s evening. The recipes is adapted from one I found on the website the Global Gourmet, who got it from a cookbook called The Sephardic Kitchen: The Healthy Food and Rich Culture of the Meditteranean Jews. I’ve modified the recipe by adding garlic and wine, cutting back on the fat and using pine nuts instead of almonds.

Chicken Braised with Tomatoes, Honey and Saffron

1-2 tablespoons olive oil
8 chicken thighs and drumsticks (skins off for low fat, on for best flavor) (about 2 lbs)
1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup red wine for deglazing
Two 24-ounce cans chopped tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads dissolved in 1/4 cup boiling chicken stock
1/3 cup honey
2 sticks cinnamon
1 One-inch piece fresh gingerroot, peeled
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts

1. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a deep, wide sauté pan that has a tight-fitting lid. Brown the chicken on both sides and set aside. If you left the chicken skin on, drain off any excess fat before proceeding to the next step.

2. Sauté the onions in the same pan until translucent. Add the garlic and cook a few minutes more. Reduce the heat and deglaze with 1/2 cup red wine, scraping up browned bits with a wooden spoon.

3. Add the tomatoes and cook until they begin to soften, stirring every once in a while. Add the saffron and honey. Stir well to dissolve. Add the cinnamon sticks and gingerroot.

4. Return the chicken breasts to the pot, making sure they are covered with sauce. Turn the heat down to simmer and cover the pan with foil. Then cover it with its lid. Cook 50 minutes or till done.

5. While the chicken is cooking, toast the pine nuts by cooking them in a dry cast-iron skillet over medium heat or on a cookie sheet in a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees until lightly browned.

6. Remove the chicken to a platter when done and cover to keep warm. If the sauce it too thin, cook it down till it’s where you like it. Remove the cinnamon sticks and gingerroot and pour saurce over the chicken. Sprinkle with pine nuts and serve.

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