This lovely Middle Eastern dish is fabulous and one of my family’s favorites. The marinade is made up of olive oil, lemon juice, onions, saffron, cinnamon, and ginger. The savory infusion from the saffron and tart fresh lemon juice contrast the spoonful of sweet nut paste that tops each piece at the end of roasting. The nut paste consists of toasted hazelnuts, honey, and rosewater. I use a local honey that comes from our favorite farm stand down the road. A lemon blossom honey would also be wonderful.
Once marinated, it goes into the oven to roast along with the marinade. The flavors meld together and infuse subtly into the poultry, while quite pronounced in the onions. When the chicken is 5-10 minutes away from reaching 160 degrees, add the nut paste. If you like baklava, you’ll love the nut paste. It sounds decadent, but all of the ingredients are natural. Simply a dallop spread over the top of each piece of chicken becomes a glaze once heated and it is divine.
It is blizzardy outside with 12-14 inches of snow predicted overnight. My boys are crossing their fingers for a snow day tomorrow. I think roasted chicken is one of the easiest dishes to make. I love this rustic one dish dinner recipe. Into the oven it goes and enjoy a glass of red while it roasts. It’s cozy inside.
Roasted Saffron Chicken with Hazelnuts and Honey
1 free range whole chicken, quartered
2 red onions, roughly chopped
1/4 c Fustini's Meyer Lemon Olive Oil
1 t ginger
1 t cinnamon
a generous pinch of saffron threads
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 c cold water
1/4 c honey
1 c hazelnuts
1 T rosewater
sea salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place hazelnuts on a sheet pan and roast for 5-7 minutes. Once removed from oven, place on cutting board, roughly chop, and set aside.
Cut the chicken into quarters: breast and wing, leg and thigh
In a large bowl, mix the chicken with the onions, olive oil, ginger, cinnamon, saffron, lemon juice, water, salt and pepper. Marinate for a minimum or 2 hours to overnight. Once marinated, transfer chicken and marinade to roasting pan. Arrange chicken pieces skin side up and place the pan in the oven until it reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees.
Meanwhile, mix the honey, hazelnuts, and rosewater together to make a rough paste. When the chicken is close, spoon a dallop of nut paste on each piece and cook for another 5-10 minutes. You'll love!
Recipe adapted from Ottolenghi, The Cookbook.