Saffron rice with winter vegetables

Saffron rice with winter vegetables

Saffron rice


1 cup peeled butternut squash, chopped into 2″ (3-4 cm.) cubes

1 cup scrubbed, not peeled sweet potato chopped into 2″ (3-4 cm.) cubes

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves or 3 sprigs fresh thyme

1/2 teaspoon dried sage leaves or 3 large fresh leaves

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4-1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

4 garlic cloves, not peeled

1/2 teaspoon saffron threads

1/4 cup boiling water

1 cup Basmati or other long-grain rice

2 additional tablespoons olive oil

1/2 medium onion, chopped

1 additional teaspoon salt

1 3/4 additional cups hot water


Turn the oven to 350° F (180° C).

Put the saffron into a small glass bowl and add 1/4 cup boiling water. Stir, cover and set aside.

Pour 1/4 cup olive oil into a medium bowl. Add thyme, sage, 1/2 teaspoon salt and black pepper. Stir.

Add the chopped vegetables and mix gently to cover them with the herbed oil. Remove the vegetables to a baking sheet, reserving any extra oil in the bowl.

Stir the garlic cloves into this extra oil and set the bowl aside.

Bake the squash and sweet potatoes for 15 minutes.

At 15 minutes baking time, turn the vegetables over and add the garlic cloves. Bake everything another 15 minutes.

While the vegetables finish baking, rinse and drain the rice.

While the rice drains, gently fry the chopped onion in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until the onion wilts – 3-5 minutes.

Add the rice and salt, stirring gently until the rice glistens. Add the saffron water (don’t lose a single thread!) and the additional hot water. Stir and bring to a boil.

Lower the heat and cook, uncovered, over medium heat until holes appear on the surface of the rice and the water has evaporated. Now add half the roasted vegetables, stirring them in gently – and quickly, so as not to lose the steam. Turn the heat off.

Cover the pot with a clean kitchen towel and clamp its cover over it. Let the rice and vegetables sit and steam away for 20-30 minutes in a warm place.


Algerian pasta with chicken saffron

For 5 to 6 persons


1 whole chicken

1 lb pasta type angel hair of superior quality

1 onion

1 cup chickpeas soaked in water the night before

2 cloves garlic

1 tbsp sea salt

1 tsp tomato paste

1/2  tsp cumin

1/2 tsp coriander

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/3 tsp  turmeric

1/3 tsp cayenne pepper

1/4 tsp of saffron 

cooking oil

optional: 1/2 cup raisins

for the saffron:

a pinch of saffron (about 1/3 tsp grounded saffron using a mortar and pestle: put the saffron hair with a tsp of sugar in the mortar and with the pestle ground the saffron. Once finely grounded dissolve in 1/3 cup of hot water and reserve)



Starting with the chicken saffron and chickpeas sauce; clean the chicken well (refer to the Basics in my Kitchen). Then cut it into at least 4 pieces and put into a pot and saute in some cooking oil for 3 to5 minutes. Then add the chopped onion and garlic and let cook for another 5 minutes or until the onion becomes translucent. Then pour in the tomato paste, spices and the chickpeas. Give it a good stir then add 3 cups of water and cover. Let it cook for about 45 min checking few times to see if you need to add water. 


Once cooked, put the chicken and all the sauce into a baking pan, add the optional raisins, and verse on top the saffron water that you previously prepared then put it to roast in the oven for about 10 min or until the chicken gets a nice red/roasted color.


For the pasta, very simply pour the dried pasta  in the upper piece of your steamer (couscousier). The lower part half full of water put into a boil.

When the steam comes out of the pasta. Dispose the pasta in a large tray preferably stainless steel or  made of wood. Then pour into the pasta 2 cups of water with 1 tsp of salt and quickly using two forks pick the pasta up then down in order for them to absorb the water. Do this constantly for couple of minutes until the water is absorbed. You can continue using your fingers if the pasta are cooled enough for you to manipulate. Drizzle one or two tbsp of cooking oil on top of the pasta, mix using the same technique. Dispose the pasta once more into the upper part of the steamer and let it cook again for another 10 minutes or until the steam come out of the pasta. Then once more dispose into the large tray and add one to two cups of water and using the same technique of picking up and down the pasta, make them absorb the water. Once absorbed, one more time put the pasta to steam for another 10 to 15 min. 



Finally,  in a large serving tray dispose the pasta and add one tbsp of ghee give it a quick stir with a wooden fork or two regular forks, then pour on top the sauce from the chicken saffron, dispose nicely the chicken on top with the chickpeas. Serve immediately  …Enjoy!!!



Note: If you can’t find the particular type of pasta simply buy the regular preferably organic long angel hair pasta that you cut by hand into 4. Half then half…