Cumin Garlic Chicken with Saffron

So, I recently hosted a luncheon with a distinctive Middle Eastern flavour. We had shashouka, and a Cumin Garlic Chicken Braise. I love how the contrast of the earthy cumin with the bright tang of lemons brings a wonderful balance to the hearty, cheery, saffron-hued dish.

Ingredients (feeds 6 to 8 pax):
8 chicken thighs (apportion 1 thigh per pax)
20 cloves garlic (about 2 whole bulbs)
1 large yellow onion, minced
3 stalks celery, diced to 1cm lengths
2 large zucchini, diced to 1" cubes
1 bunch thyme (about 15 sprigs), tied together with butcher's string
1 tbsp cumin
10 saffron threads
3 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup white wine (I like chardonnay)
6 cups chicken stock
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt to taste
Oil for frying (I used the chicken fat renderings from the browning process)

1) Brown chicken, salting liberally on both sides, about 4 minutes each side. Set aside and reserve.

2) Leaving behind 2 tbsp of chicken fat renderings (keep the rest of the chicken fat in the fridge for future use), fry garlic and onion until toasty and fragrant, about 10 minutes on low heat.

3) Add celery, and continue frying for 2 minutes until just slightly soft.

4) Add wine, and reduce until almost completely evaporated.

5) Add tomato paste and toss until fragrant and dry, about 2 minutes on medium-high heat.

6) Add stock and return chicken to pan, with thyme, cumin, saffron, and lemon zest. Bring to a boil, and then lower to simmer, covered, for 40 minutes.

7) Add zucchini to cook through for the last 5 minutes before serving.

8) Serve with a dash of lemon juice over each chicken.

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