Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Time: 1½ hours
6 large bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, fat trimmed
Salt and pepper
⅛ teaspoon crumbled saffron threads
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 large onion, diced (about 1½ cups)
½ cup tomato purée
Pinch of cayenne
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon green cardamom pods
1 cup white wine
One cup of dried apricots
2 small lemons, thinly sliced (do not peel)
Coriander leaves, for garnish
Mint leaves, for garnish
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts, for garnish (optional)
Season chicken generously on both sides with salt and pepper. (If time permits, do this an hour before cooking or up to 24 hours in advance. Keep refrigerated, but remove from refrigerator 1 hour before cooking.)
In a large skillet over medium heat, place chicken pieces skin-side down in one layer. Let chicken cook slowly to brown well on one side, about 15 to 20 minutes.
When skin is crisp and lifts easily from the pan, it is ready. Flip and cook 2 minutes more.
Meanwhile, make saffron water: In a small cup, combine saffron with lemon juice and 1/4 cup water.
Set aside to steep.
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Transfer chicken, skin-side up, to a baking dish.
Pour off some fat from the skillet, reserving about 2 tablespoons.
Add onions, salt lightly and cook, stirring, until softened and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes.
Add saffron water and threads, tomato purée, cayenne, coriander, fennel, cardamom and wine to onions and bring to a simmer.
Pour onion mixture over chicken. Tuck apricots and lemon slices among the chicken pieces. Cover tightly and bake for 1 hour.
Remove cover and bake until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. (Recipe can be prepared to this point up to 2 days ahead.
When ready to serve, reheat in a 350-degree oven, in a covered pot, 30 to 45 minutes.)
To serve, garnish with cilantro and mint leaves. Sprinkle with pine nuts and serve hot.