Chicken poached with saffron and cinnamon

January 11, 2010

Back in cold, grey London but – despite really missing Süleyman and Istanbul – foodwise, I’d been really looking forward to eating some vegetable dishes that didn’t involve tomatoes, aubergines or green peppers! I got back too late to get to Borough Market on Saturday, so headed off to the supermarket on Sunday and filled my basket with a marrow, a cauliflower, some courgettes, lots of carrots, onions and salad, and an organic chicken.

Despite my cravings for some British veggies, I found I couldn’t quite leave Istanbul behind, and decided to poach the chicken with some saffron and a cinnamon stick I’d bought on Friday from the Spice Market. The garlic in the photo comes from Süleyman’s home town of Tunceli and, although it looks like a bulb, it is, in fact, a single clove.

I put the chicken in a large casserole pot with a finely chopped onion, poured in enough water to almost cover the bird, added a good pinch of saffron, a cinnamon stick, the garlic and plenty of salt and pepper. Once it came to the boil, I turned the heat down very low and let it cook for about an hour and a half. By this point, the meat was literally falling of the bone, so I removed the chicken to a warm plate, and reduced the liquid over a high flame. The aroma of the spices was absolutely mouthwatering – and so warming and comforting, it was perfect for the shock of arriving back into the depths of a British winter. A squeeze of lemon over the cooked chicken and some simply steamed cauliflower, courgette and sweet Chantenay carrots on the side, and I was beginning to feel a little less ‘home’-sick for Istanbul.

There was plenty of meat left over, some of which I’ll put in the freezer, and the rest I’ll use in a salad to take to work for lunch. And, thanks to the cooking method, it should stay nice and moist.

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