Safflower petals are a delicately floral and mildly earthy tasting gem of a seasoning that I keep around for those days when I need to give my taste buds a little jump start away from the ordinary. Safflower, aka Azafran and even Poor Man’s Saffron, is a “spice” made up of bajillions of dainty little thistle-like petals. It closely resembles the much more costly saffron in color and appearance, but is said to resemble the flavor of saffron not so much. I honestly have not tasted saffron since culinary school, which was many scores ago, and I cannot remember for the likes of me what it tasted like! Me thinks I will have to remedy this soon…so I know what I’m talkin’ ’bout.
Safflower is used in natural food coloring. It will give your culinary creations a nice yellowish-orange color, similar to the abilities of turmeric. Textile silks and cosmetics have also been known to tote the dying abilities of safflower petals. A flavorful tea can also be brewed using the flower. Apparently, there may be some health benefits related to safflower petal consumption and diabetes, dementia, tumors, and female health, but these claims need to be further researched.
(Safflower petals should not be confused with commercial safflower seed oil, which is inflammatory and neither a primal nor healthful food.)
Now, let’s get down to chicken, shall we?
One of my least favorite parts of the chicken to cook has always been the humble drumstick….until making these babies! The cast iron skillet helped to make the skin so scrumptiously crispy, with that lovely bit of chew to it, and a lovely tender meat underneath the crispety-chewety-saltedy crust. YUM! (TIP! Use a splatter screen and silicone tongs during stovetop use to minimize mess and burns and cookware damage.)
(If you want an extra flavor-layer boost, click the pic above to grab a jar of Epic’s Duck fat, and cook your chicken leggies up with this AWESOME product. Oh. My. Gershness. You will not be disappointed. I cook my eggs in this almost every morning and it’s so flavorful that I actually prefer it over ghee. That’s saying a lot.)
I love that the skillet can go effortlessly between the stovetop and the oven (one less dish, folks, hurrah!). Just remember to put an oven mitt over the handle after you get it out of the oven…that puppy is HOT. I know from experience how easy it is to forget to NOT grab a 350 F pan handle. Sheesh.
We enjoyed these babies with some roasted squash and leeks, but for realz…the leftover leg pieces were just fiiiiine and dandy all by themselves. I bet they would be great with a quick AIP sauce whip-up of coconut cream, minced cucumber, lemon and garlic too. OK, now I’m hungry. Again.
- Place your 10" cast iron skillet on the stovetop, and set it to medium-high.
- In a mixing bowl, combine safflower petals, dill, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, honey and lemon juice to form a paste.
- Add chicken pieces to the bowl, and rub the mixture evenly over the chicken.
- Heat oven to 350 F.
- Add cooking fat to the pan, allow to melt, then place chicken pieces in.
- For less mess and less splatter burns, use a splatter screen.
- Brown chicken on all sides (about 5 minutes per side, using silicone tongs) then place skillet in the oven to finish cooking through.
- Bake for 30 to 45 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
- This can also be browned in a ceramic non-stick skillet then transferred to a parchment-lined baking sheet before baking, following the same cooking instructions.