This recipe, which was borrowed from my mum, Lexie, is packed with prebiotic foods—onions, garlic and chickpeas—and nearly impossible to mess up. Cooking it slowly means you’re left with chicken that falls off the bone and onions so soft that they’re practically melting. It’s a delicious, hearty dish that is good for the gut, and I think for the soul, too. Serves 4–6.


This recipe is from Reece’s book, The Happy Gut.


What You’ll Need

30 saffron threads

1/4 cup (60ml) boiling water

1/4 cup (60ml) extra virgin olive oil

2 large onions, thinly sliced

4 garlic cloves, crushed

6 skinless chicken thighs, bone in (about 1kg)

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2 cups (500ml) chicken stock

200g dried chickpeas, soaked overnight in water, then drained

8–10 baby carrots, scrubbed and chopped lengthways

8 thyme sprigs

1 bay leaf

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1 tablespoon finely chopped preserved lemon peel

Large handful of flat-leaf parsley leaves, roughly chopped

Mashed sweet potato or quinoa, to serve (optional)



1 Crush your saffron threads in a mortar and pestle. If they aren’t quite dry enough, heat them in a dry saucepan over medium heat for 30 seconds, then try crushing them again. Once ground, pour in the boiling water and give it a good stir. Set aside to infuse while you prepare the rest of the dish.

2 Heat the olive oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over low heat, add the onion and garlic and cook until softened and transparent, then remove with tongs and set aside.

3 Season your chicken thighs with a little salt and pepper, add to the pan and brown over medium heat for 5–6 minutes on each side.

4 Return the onion and garlic to the pan. Pour over the chicken stock and the saffron infusion, then add the chickpeas, carrots, thyme, bay leaf and oregano. Stir well to combine.

5 Turn the heat down to its lowest setting, place the lid on your pan and cook for 1–1 1/2 hours. You’ll know it’s done when the chicken is soft and the vegetables are cooked through.

6 Add the preserved lemon peel to the pan, stir and taste the juices. You may want to season with a little extra salt and pepper.

7 Top with loads of parsley. This chicken tastes delicious served over mashed sweet potato, quinoa or all on its own.

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