Roast Chicken with Saffron, Hazelnuts and Honey

I’m not an expert on poetry, I can’t even claim to get immense pleasure from reading it regularly, but there are some poems that stick in my head. One such poem is “If” by Rudyard Kipling. Different lines from it seem appropriate at different times.

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;

That seems to be the part that resonates right now, and I wanted to say a heartfelt thank you to you all for your kind words of support and encouragement while Big Man and I deal with the highs of a wonderful year of hard work behind us, and the lows of the ill health of loved ones in the here and now.

However, life really does go on. We live, we laugh, we cry and of course, we cook and eat. Cooking soothes the soul, eating does too. Well, we all knew that didn’t we?!  Today I have another beautiful Ottolenghi recipe that is stunningly simple and simply stunning. I followed the recipe almost exactly, which is rare, and I wouldn’t change a thing. When we ate this dish, I found myself thinking what beautiful Arab flavours it contained. As I looked up the recipe again to pull this post together, Yotam Ottolenghi says that he was influenced by a recipe from Claudia Roden’s book, Tamarind and Saffron. Aha, now I need to buy that one too!

Chicken with Saffron Hazelnuts & Honey (8)

Serves 4

  • 1 large (organic, free range if possible) chicken cut into portions
  • 2 onions roughly chopped
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp each of ground ginger and ground cinnamon
  • A generous pinch of saffron strands (but use turmeric if you don’t have saffron)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 4 tbsp cold water
  • 2 tsp coarse sea salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 100g hazelnuts (actually, I did change this, he says unskinned, mine were skinned!)
  • 70g honey
  • 2 tbsp rosewater

In a large bowl mix the chicken pieces with the onions, olive oil, spices, saffron, lemon juice, water, salt and pepper and leave to marinate (from 1 hour to overnight in the fridge)

Heat the oven to 190 degrees (Gas 5). Brown the hazelnuts on an oven tray for 10 mins (I dry fried mine in a pan), cool slightly, roughly chop the nuts and set aside.

Transfer the chicken and marinade to a large tray or oven dish (you want to spread it all out) and bake for about 35 minutes.

Meanwhile mix the honey, nuts and rose water to make a rough paste and spread it over the almost cooked chicken. Return the meat to the oven for about 10 minutes (or until cooked) and it is all golden brown.

This dish looks so beautiful (well, less so in my photo!) and is good even when cold.


77 thoughts on “Roast Chicken with Saffron, Hazelnuts and Honey

  1. What an excellent recipe. I keep saying that I must buy at one of Ottolenghi’s books and this convinces me that it’s very necessary. I was very impressed with the picture. Brown food is the hardest thing to photograph, and you’ve made it look easy.

    1. Ah, thanks Roger! I struggle with white food too – I have such a wonderful recipe for a typical Andalucían fish soup which is white and I make it almost weekly but haven’t posted it as I can’t get a photo of it which doesn’t make it look really unappetising. I have 2 of the 3 Ottolenghi books and I think it won’t be long until I also buy “Plenty” which I’m guessing you’d especially like as there are no meat recipes at all

  2. I love his stuff. Beautiful recipe. I have Rodin’s cookbook in my shopping cart, but I”m afraid I’m on cookbook overload….but I want it! So beautiful. Hang in there. Life has its ups and downs and it looks like you’re having both at once. Que estes bien, Nena!

  3. Ottolenghi can transform even a simple salad into something fantastic – I’m sure he will prove to be one of the most influential chefs this century. I think Claudi Roden’s Spanish book is also a great one for the recipe shelf.
    Your chicken looks delicious 😉

    1. Yes, I was looking at her Spanish book. I think my mum has it so will have to have a good read of it and then order a copy. Totally agree with you about Ottolenghi – I feel like his recipes were made for me….and I guess that’s the sign of a cookbook you’re going to be continuously inspired by.

  4. Beautiful little verse from Kipling, and a great way to view life. Love this dish and remember seeing it in Ottolenghi’s book I checked out from the library. I’ve decided Jerusalem is a MUST HAVE! Now I’ll have to look for Claudia Roden. Still sending warm thoughts your way, Tanya.

    1. Thanks Betsy – it’s a poem I really love. You lucky thing to have found an Ottolenghi book in the library, I love the two I have, can’t recommend them highly enough. Sending good wishes your way too…what a summer eh!

  5. I’ve also made this one. It’s a winner. Never fails to impress and lovely hot and cold the next day. Good to see it here. Reminded me about it. Yummy.

  6. Must admit, I was thinking I’d leave out the rosewater? Where would I get it and when would I use it again (I know! Lots and lots of this dish 🙂 🙂

    1. It’s a super subtle taste and it’s not expensive (I got mine in a Caribbean food shop but I think you can also buy it in Boots). It’s a great facial toner too!

      1. I was thinking I’d just use regular water. no? not sure where I’d find it here, maybe Whole Foods? hmmm….

      2. I agree, I think recipes are there to guide us and if we don’t have a specific ingredient, well then…leave it out, make a substitution….there are so many lovely flavours in this dish it would still be amazing! Try a chemist, rose water is often sold as a facial toner or tonic.

  7. good to see you blogging and cooking and well just living. I have the Claudia Roden book so when you are next here help yourself and have a flick through, glass of wine in the other hand of course 🙂 and I still have the saffron you gave me, waiting, just waiting for something like this !

    1. I love the sound of flicking through your book with a glass of wine in my hand 🙂 Life is ok, as with everyone it has its up and downs and we’re doing fine….:)

  8. Cooking and enjoying the rewards really does seem to soothe the soul, and this recipe certainly looks like amazing comfort food.

    Keep holding on during life’s lows, and the life’s ups will come again.

    1. Thank you – wise words indeed. We are focusing on the good stuff (of which there is plenty) and dealing with the less good as it comes…as do most folk. Life can’t always be sunshine and roses, sometimes we have rain to deal with…

  9. You’ve convinced me to end my cookbook moratorium and buy “Jerusalem”. I’ve heard nothing but praise for the book and each recipe I’ve seen prepared has been wonderful. Yours is certainly no exception. It looks great and I bet that hazelnut “paste” is a great addition, especially once toasted a bit in the oven.
    Hang in there, Tanya. I hope things will improve for you. You and Big Man remain in my thoughts.

    1. You won’t regret it John! This recipe was from Ottolenghi The Cookbook but I’d be hard pressed to say which one of the two I prefer – they’re both amazing! Thank you for your thoughts and words – it means a lot, it really does. Compared to what some folk go through in life we’re blessed…well, we’re blessed anyway…and we’ll get through this not so good time together.

  10. that looks delicious!! I need to try it too, thank you! and sorry to hear of your woes of late. life does go on and somehow we make it through. big hugs to you.

  11. Well, I ‘beat’ Chicago John on the Ottolenght score: was still in bed this morning when the post handed it over 🙂 ! I had heard SO much about it almost thought I would be disappointed: you have to be kidding 🙂 ! Kind wait for the working day to be over: what a fab collection so simply and elegantly presented!! And now you have made life more difficult by giving us the title of the Roden book and I have ‘loved’ her forever! Oh, beautiful lady: you are in my thoughts and evening prayers . . . .

    1. Yay! You’ll have your nose stuck in it for days and I can almost guarantee that every page you turn you’ll think “ooh, I want to make that”! Thank you for your lovely words too – I was amazed at how much support and kindness people have shown and you know what? It really does help, it feels good to know that so many people are there for you. Thank you.

  12. I’ve always loved that poem by Kipling. I’m not much of a poetry fan, but I like that one. The meal looks and sounds wonderful. Sending you positive thoughts.

    1. Glad you enjoyed it all – and thanks for your kind words about the photo 🙂 It looks really pretty when it’s cooked, I just thought it looked a little “brown” rather than saffron-gold in the snap!

  13. What an exotic combination of ingredients and how gorgeous does that look! Even little vegan ole me thinks it looks yumpcious. Hugs for the lows and pats for the highs. Better than a life spent sitting on the fence where mediocrity rules though and the lows make you appreciate those highs SO much more don’t they? 🙂

  14. It has been a dreadful year.. is it that it’s 2013?? I, for one, hope this misfortune ends soon.. I will keep praying for you and your family. Good food nourishes our soul and gives us the strength to keep going, that’s for certain. I loved your poem today, that really speaks to me! xx

  15. Glad you and Big Man are ok. You are often though of in this little part of the world.
    A friend of mine recently returned from a trip to Spain with a gift of saffron for me (I have wonderful friends, I know) and it seems so appropriate to make this recipe…I’m printing it off now!

    1. Ah, its lovely to know that we are thought of in your beautiful part of England 🙂 Saffron is a wonderful gift fro Spain – do hope you enjoy whatever you make with it!

    1. I am a bit obsessed with my Ottolenghi books and am planning to by the last one (Plenty – which I don’t yet have) but there are just so many inspiring dishes!

  16. Ya know, I’ve read so much about cooking with rose water but have never got around to trying it. I think this is the first time I’ve had a mouth watering reaction to such a recipe. And its one I think even I could manage lol. Yum!

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