Beard and scrub the mussels, discarding any that stay open when tapped. Put the saffron to soak in 2 tablespoons of hot water. Trim and wash the leek and carrot. Cut them into julienne strips. Peel, smash and finely chop the garlic. Wash and destalk the parsley.
You will see that the chicken breasts have a small loose piece of flesh on the underside which you can pull away. Do so, season the skin with salt and pepper and reserve.
Put the wine, chicken stock, parsley stalks, bay leaf and garlic into a large saucepan with a lid and bring to the boil.
Add the mussels, cover and cook, shaking from time to time, for 2—3 minutes, until the mussels have opened. Strain through a sieve into another pan. Shell and reserve the mussels.
Bring the liquid to the boil and continue to boil hard until reduced by half. Add the stabilized yogurt and stir it in. Lower the heat and leave to simmer gently.
While it simmers, brush a non-stick frying pan with a little olive oil and put over a low heat. When the pan is hot, add the chicken breasts, skin side down, and fry, turning after 10 minutes. Turn once more and cook until the flesh just springs back when pressed, which will take a total of 15—20 minutes.
Transfer to a warmed dish and keep warm. Turn up the heat and rapidly fry the 4 little pieces of breast you detached earlier, turning frequently. This only takes 2-3 minutes. Add to the other breasts.
Put 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the pan and stir-fry the carrot strips until they start to wilt, then add the leeks and cook for a further 2 minutes.
Add to the yogurt sauce the mussels, saffron and soaking liquid and parsley leaves, reserving a few for garnish. Warm through.
Cut the breasts across on the bias into slices and arrange in warm soup plates. Spoon over the mussel sauce, scatter over a few parsley leaves and serve with plain boiled long-grain rice.
© 1995 Alastair Little. All rights reserved.