Chicken with Romesco Sauce and Saffron Cauliflower Rice is a Spanish-inspired restaurant-quality dish that’s easy enough for a weeknight and elegant enough for your next dinner party! Did you know February is Heart Health Month? Did you also know a clinical study showed Mazola® Corn Oil reduces cholesterol 2x more than extra-virgin olive oil?
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Last summer I shared these delicious Grilled Vegetable Kabobs with Charmoula that use Mazola Corn Oil. Here’s another delicious recipe I think you’re going to love that’s better for you all the way around! Chicken with Romesco Sauce and Saffron Cauliflower Rice.
First, let me tell you about Mazola Corn Oil. I’m very familiar with Mazola Corn Oil because my mother used it. She trusted it because, living on a farm as we did, it came from something familiar–corn.
About Mazola Corn Oil:
Mazola Corn Oil is an all-purpose, cholesterol-free cooking oil that is a smart heart-healthy* choice for your family. *See Mazola.com for more information on the relationship between corn oil and heart health. It has a variety of uses include baking, grilling, sautéing, stir-frying or mixing up a marinade or dressing.
Mazola Corn Oil has more cholesterol-blocking plant sterols than other cooking oils — four times more than olive oil and one and a half times more than canola oil. Clinical studies indicate that when consumed as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, plant sterols can help reduce the absorption of cholesterol in your digestive system. A clinical study showed Mazola Corn Oil reduces cholesterol 2x more than extra virgin olive oil.
The American Heart Association recently issued a new presidential advisory on dietary fats and cardiovascular disease (CVD) that strongly advised replacing saturated fat (like that found in coconut oil) with polyunsaturated fat like corn oil to reduce the risk of CVD by 30 percent.
Because I cook for clients in private homes, the smoke point of an oil is something I have to be aware of. Mazola Corn Oil has a smoke point of 450º, which is higher than most cooking oils, so it works well in a variety of cooking applications. The smoke point of an oil is important to pay attention to as a home cook. If the smoke point of an oil is exceeded, the flavor and nutritional value are affected. In addition, oil that begins to smoke is very dangerous and can ignite.
Reduce saturated fats and cholesterol in your meals easily with simple swaps such as the following and substituting butter and other saturated fats with Mazola Corn Oil.
To make this traditional Spanish-inspired dish better for you, I made the following better-for-you swaps:
- Mazola Corn Oil swapped for olive oil which is traditional in a Romesco sauce
- Used only nuts to thicken the Romesco sauce instead of bread or bread and nuts which is the traditional way
- Cauliflower “rice” instead of traditional white rice which is a staple in the Spanish diet
Now, let’s make this delicious and elegant Chicken with Romesco Sauce and Saffron Cauliflower Rice! First, you’ll need to make the Romesco sauce.
What is Romesco Sauce:
Romesco sauce is the star of this dish and it’s definitely a sauce you’ll want to become familiar with! This versatile sauce originated in Catalonia on the Mediterranean coast of Spain and was first paired with fish. However, it works with practically anything including poultry, grilled meats, pasta, vegetables, potatoes, on sandwiches and as a dip.
There are many variations to Romesco sauce, however, it always contains red peppers. Bread is often added to thicken the sauce and tomatoes in some form are included. Spanish smoked paprika adds an earthy, smoky quality. The end result is complex, intensely flavored and delicious.
How to roast red bell peppers:
To make this recipe quick and easy, use roasted red bell pepper from a jar. However, if you have fresh red bell peppers on hand, by all means, use them. Roasting your own peppers is also quick and easy!
- Cut in half and place under a preheated broiler. Broil for 12-15 minutes or until nicely blackened.
- Immediately upon removing from the oven, place a sheet of aluminum foil or another baking sheet over the peppers. (You want to fully enclose them.)
- Let them sit for about 20 minutes. The steam produced will allow the skin to pull off easily. If some of the skin stays behind here and there, I don’t worry about it. Pull off all you can that comes off easily.
- When peeling and removing the seeds, resist the urge to do it under running water. It might make it easier to get the seeds out, but you’ll be rinsing away flavor.
- Freeze in sandwich bags for future use.
- Combine the peppers along with chopped tomatoes, almonds, garlic, parsley, sherry or red wine vinegar, smoked paprika, cayenne, salt, pepper and Mazola Corn Oil in a food processor or blender. Process until smooth.
Make the Saffron Cauliflower Rice:
- Combine Mazola Corn Oil with saffron and salt and black pepper. Drizzle over the cauliflower rice and stir well. Saffron can be on the pricey side, but a little goes a LONG way!
Tips for making Cauliflower Rice:
- If not hand-chopping the cauliflower, opt for packaged cauliflower “rice” (also known as “pearls”). They’re a great time-saver and if you process cauliflower florets in a food processor, it’s difficult to get them uniform and you run the risk of over-processing them. Cauliflower has a lot of water in it which can turn your “rice” into a mushy mess in no time. A bag is not that much more expensive than a whole head. Save whole cauliflower heads for roasting, salads, soups, etc.
- Hand-grating the cauliflower is going to give you a better result than a food processor but it’s tedious.
- Cauliflower rice is best roasted in the oven. This discovery was life-changing! Cooking the “rice” in the dry heat of the oven spread out in a single layer results in perfect, evenly cooked “grains.”
- You won’t see a lot of color from the saffron immediately. However, after roasting, the cauliflower rice will have the lovely flavor and color of saffron.
- Sear and cook the chicken: Sprinkle with a combination of sweet paprika, salt and pepper.
- Brown well on both sides in an oven-safe skillet, then place in the oven to finish cooking. (This can be done alongside the cauliflower rice.)
- Top with the Romesco sauce and garnish with slivered almonds.
- Serve with a green vegetable such as roasted asparagus (roasted with Mazola Corn Oil) and you have a delicious, company-worthy, restaurant-quality dish that’s better for you all the way around!
Simply beautiful and simple to prepare!
Have a HAPPY HEART HEALTH MONTH!
Chicken with Romesco Sauce and Saffron Cauliflower Rice
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- 2 large red bell peppers - roasted and peeled --OR-- 1 jar (12-ounce) roasted red bell peppers, drained
- 2 plum tomatoes - seeded and chopped
- 3 cloves garlic - chopped
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley - plus more for garnish
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds - plus more for garnish
- 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar - or to taste
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 cup Mazola Corn Oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper - to taste
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
- 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon Mazola Corn Oil
- 2 bags (16-ounce each) riced cauliflower - (cauliflower pearls)
- 2 tablespoons Mazola Corn Oil
- 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper - to taste
- Chopped fresh parsley - for garnish
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Combine the first 8 sauce ingredients in a food processor or blender. Process until you have a thick puree, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- With the machine running, add corn oil in a steady, slow stream. Pulse until combined and smooth.
- Add salt and black pepper to taste. Set aside.
- Combine sweet paprika, salt and black pepper in a small bowl. Sprinkle or rub generously over both sides of chicken breast.
- Heat corn oil in an ovenproof skillet or saute pan over medium-high heat.
- Add the chicken and brown well, 3-4 minutes per side.
- Transfer to the oven to finish cooking to an internal temperature of 165 degrees in the center.
- Spread cauliflower pearls out on a large nonstick baking sheet.
- Combine corn oil, saffron and salt and black pepper. Drizzle over cauliflower pearls and stir well so cauliflower evenly coated.
- Roast for 10-12 minutes in the oven with the chicken.
- TO SERVE: Top chicken with Romesco sauce then garnish with slivered almonds. Garnish cauliflower with chopped fresh parsley and serve alongside.
These are estimated values generated from a nutritional database using unbranded products. Please do your own research with the products you're using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.