- 2 generous pinches saffron threads
- 1/3 pound thin green beans, trimmed and halved cross-wise
- 1 cup fresh spring peas
- 2 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts
- 2 small onions, 1 quartered and 1 finely chopped
- 1 rib celery, coarsely chopped
- 1 carrot, coarsely chopped
- 1 large bay leaf
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup broken pieces of thin spaghetti or orzo
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 1/2 cups long grain white rice
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon (a generous pinch)
- A small handful of golden raisins
- 1 Meyer lemon, very thinly sliced
- Toasted slivered almonds, for garnish
Bring 2 inches of water to boil in a skillet. Remove 1 cup of the boiling water, pour over the saffron and reserve. Add salt to remaining water; add the beans and peas and par-boil, 3-4 minutes. Drain and reserve.
Place the chicken in the skillet skin-side down and add the quartered onion, celery, carrot and bay leaf. Cover with a couple of inches of water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer to poach the chicken, about 20 minutes. Remove the chicken and let cool. Strain the poaching liquid into a bowl and reserve. Return the skillet to the stove.
Remove the chicken bones and skin. Slice or pull the chicken into large, bite-size pieces.
Heat the EVOO, two turns of the pan, in the skillet over medium to medium-high heat; add the butter and melt. When the butter foams, add the pasta and toast to golden. Add the finely chopped onion and garlic to the pasta and stir for 2-3 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Add the rice and stir for 1 minute more. Add the wine and stir to evaporate it into the rice. Add about 3 cups of the reserved poaching liquid plus the saffron water, 4 cups of liquid total. Add the cinnamon, raisins and lemon; stir to bring to boil, then cover and reduce the heat to simmer. Cook for 15 minutes; add the chicken and peas and beans and cook for 2-3 minutes more, until the rice is tender and the chicken is warm through. Serve from the skillet garnished with toasted almonds.