Chicken Rubens with Saffron Rice

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Chicken Rubens with Saffron Rice

Chicken Rubens and Saffron Rice at the table

A very long time ago, I lived with the chef at the Hollywood location of Gorky’s Russian Cafe. My roommate also happened to be Ukrainian, maybe that was why they hired him. He used to make a dish with pastrami, swiss cheese and Russian dressing. I have asked him how to make it, and he says he doesn’t remember.

So, after doing all that cooking over Memorial Day, I had a taste for that dish that my friend used to make. I went to the store, bought some pastrami, some swiss cheese, some chicken thighs, and some tooth picks. I had everything I needed to make Russian dressing at home. I also had everything I needed to make the Saffron Rice.

One of the great things about this dish is you can prepare part of it ahead, stick it in the freezer and have it ready when you want.

Chicken Rubens with Saffron Rice



4 Chicken Thighs, skinned and boned
8 pieces Pastrami
4 slices Swiss cheese
8 Tooth picks

Saffron Rice

1 cup Rice, uncooked long or medium grain
1 teaspoon Chicken Base
1/2 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
2 pinches Saffron Threads
2 cups Boiling Water

Russian Dressing

1 cup Mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Plain Yogurt
2 tablespoons Ketchup
1 teaspoon Horseradish
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce



If you did not get thighs that were skinned and boned, do so now. Place the pastrami and cheese in the area where the bone was, roll up and secure with two tooth picks. Set aside.

At this point, if you want, you can freeze the chicken. To defrost, use the microwave, and defrost only half way so you do not melt the cheese!

Saffron Rice

In a 8 x 8 inch casserole, put the rice. Mix the chicken base and Italian seasoning in the boiling water, and stir to dissolve the chicken base. Remove from heat and add the saffron threads. Carefully pour this over the rice in the casserole.

Finally, put the chicken on top of the rice, place in a 350 oven and cook until the rice has absorbed all the water.

Russian Dressing

Mix all the ingredients together and serve with the chicken.

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