Pati’s Drunken Chicken

Since we brought the Rents out here from the east coast, I’ve had to become much more organized in my menu planning. I found this fantastic app called Paprika a few years ago. It lets me plan menus, save recipes, make shopping lists, and sync between my phone and computer. It’s really a lifesaver. Every Saturday or Sunday, I plan out the menus for the week, make my shopping list, and head to the store. Yesterday, I had decided to make Pati Jinich’s Drunken Chicken. I love Pati’s show, I love her accent, and I love how excited she gets about food. I’ve made this a couple of times before, and its super yummy. So I put it on the menu for today. Then, this afternoon, I flip on the Sunday afternoon cooking shows on Create TV, and there’s Pati, making the drunken chicken! It was a sign!! For those of you who don’t know her, here’s a link to her site: Pati’s Mexican Table. I tried to film some of it. My apologies for the wobbliness. Is that a word? Anyway, here it is, followed by the recipe.

1/2 teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled
2 tablespoons boiling water
6 tablespoons safflower or corn oil, divided
6 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher or coarse sea salt, divided, or to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 cups long or extra-long white rice
1/2 cup chopped white onion
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped tomato
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
Pinch of ground cumin
Pinch of ground cinnamon
2 whole cloves, stems removed and tops crushed
1 cup beer
3 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup peas, fresh or thawed from frozen


  • Place the saffron threads in a small mixing bowl along with the boiling water. Mix and let soak for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Heat the oil in a large and thick casserole over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Once the oil is hot, brown the chicken for 3 to 4 minutes per side. Remove and place in a bowl. Add a couple more tablespoons of oil to the casserole and scrape drippings, don’t remove them though.
  • Add the uncooked rice and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, until its color starts to change to milky white and the grains separate. Incorporate the onion, green and red bell peppers, tomato and garlic and stir. Add the cumin, cinnamon, crushed cloves, 1/2 teaspoon salt and continue to cook for 4 to 5 more minutes, until vegetables have softened. Pour in the beer, and let it cook and reduce until it is almost absorbed and the alcohol has evaporated, a couple minutes.
  • Place the chicken pieces on top of the rice, pour the chicken broth on top and the saffron and its liquid, as well as the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and stir. When liquid starts to boil, add the peas and cover the pot, reduce heat to low, and continue cooking for about 20 more minutes, or until the rice is cooked through and the liquid has been mostly absorbed.
  • If the rice grains don’t seem soft and cooked through, add a bit more chicken stock or water and let it cook for another 5 minutes or so. Turn heat off, and let it sit covered for 5 to 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve.

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