Chicken with Oranges and Marcona Almond-Topped Saffron Rice

Add a touch of sunshine to chicken with oranges and herbs. The unique flavors of saffron, cinnamon and bay leaf are simmered with rice and topped with almonds. 


For the chicken with oranges:

  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into large chunks – buy smaller pieces of breast meat (5-6 ounces each), which are more tender than larger pieces
  • Salt and pepper
  • Flour, for dredging
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), divided
  • 2 blood oranges or organic oranges, thinly sliced with rind
  • 2 large shallots, thinly sliced into rings
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon rosemary, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons thyme, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry sherry
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • A handful of flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped

For the rice:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup broken spaghetti or orzo pasta
  • 1 cup white rice
  • A generous pinch of saffron threads (24-30 threads)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock, divided
  • 1 cup Marcona almonds, chopped


For the chicken, pat the pieces dry and season liberally with salt and pepper. Lightly dredge the pieces in flour, coating them evenly all over. In a large skillet, heat a couple of tablespoons of EVOO over medium-high heat, a couple turns of the pan. Add the chicken pieces and brown on all sides, 5-6 minutes total; remove to a plate. Add the oranges and brown on both sides, about 2-3 minutes; remove to a plate. Add a little more EVOO and the shallots and garlic, toss in the pan for 2-3 minutes, then add the reserved oranges. Season with rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper. Sauté for 5 minutes, tossing to combine, then add the sherry, let reduce a minute or two, then add the stock and slide the chicken back in. Reduce at a low simmer, 15 minutes. Add the butter and toss to combine; garnish with parsley.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons butter in a medium size saucepot. Stir in the pasta and toast to deep golden, 2-3 minutes. Stir in the rice and saffron, then add the cinnamon stick and bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper, then pour in 2 cups stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 17-18 minutes to tender. Check on the rice after 12-13 minutes and if it is dry, stir in a little extra stock. Fluff the rice, remove the cinnamon stick and bay leaf and combine with the almonds.

Serve the chicken with rice alongside.

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Rachael Ray