Baked chicken with lemon and garlic and saffron pilaf rice
Preheat the oven to 170°C, 325°F, Gas 3, then heat a large casserole or saucepan over a medium heat.
Add the olive oil and the chicken pieces, skin side down, and cook them on both sides until they are golden brown. Season with the salt and freshly ground black pepper, then pour off and discard any excess fat.
Now add the white wine and the unpeeled garlic cloves, then boil for 2 minutes. Next, add the lemon zest and the lemon juice, the sprig of thyme, the bay leaf and the chicken stock.
Bring to the boil, cover with a lid and bake in the oven for about 30-40 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked. While the chicken is cooking, toast the baguette slices.
To cook the basmati rice, melt the butter in a casserole or a large saucepan, then add the chopped onion, and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cover and cook over a low heat for approximately 10 minutes, or until the onion is soft.
Add the rice and stir it for about 2 minutes until it crackles, then add the chicken or vegetable stock, whichever you are using, and the pinch of saffron, if you are using it. Season with more salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Bring this mixture to the boil, then transfer it to the oven and cook it for about 10 minutes, or until the rice is slightly al dente and all the liquid is absorbed. Cover the saucepan of cooked rice and keep it warm until you are ready to serve it up. Serve the chicken with the saffron pilaf rice in shallow bowls and sprinkled with the chopped parsley.
Let each person squeeze the soft garlic cloves out of their skins and spread them on to the toasted baguette slices, which can mop up the delicious chicken juices.
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