Italian Chicken with Saffron Rice

12.12.22 /



  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 1 small bunch thyme
  • 1 whole chicken, cut into 8
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 leek, sliced
  • 1 red capsicum, diced
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 180 g pancetta, diced
  • 1½ cups long grain rice
  • 1 teaspoon saffron
  • 100ml Pino Gris or dry white wine
  • 500ml chicken stock, boiling
  • Flat-leaf parsley, chopped, to serve
  • Lemon cheeks, to serve


  1. Set your oven to fan forced and pre heat to 180⁰C.
  2. Combine lemon zest, paprika and thyme leaves with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle over chicken pieces, rubbing in well.
  3. Heat olive oil in a large oven proof baking dish or casserole. Add onion, leek, carrot, capsicum, celery, pancetta and garlic and cook for a few minutes to soften the vegetables. Add rice and stir to coat with all ingredients. Add chicken, saffron, wine and boiling stock. Mix well and bring to the boil. Cover and cook in the oven for 25 minutes until the chicken and rice are tender.
  4. Serve topped with parsley and lemon cheeks on the side.

Recipe by Smeg Chef Elke Travers

Parya Zaghand

While I think of myself as an Aussie, I’m also proud as punch of my Iranian heritage. So much so, in 2013, I created a business built around the mouth-watering delicacies of Persia; bringing you flavours of the real Iran. I wanted to create a space at the table for the golden-petaled spice: Persian Saffron.