Ottolenghi's Roast Chicken With Saffron, Hazelnuts, and Honey

So, one of the cardinal rules of having a dinner party is to make foods that you’ve made before.  For some reason I pretty much never adhere to this rule.  In fact, when I have people coming over I usually use it as a reason to experiment.  And the idea never stresses me out.  I’ve been lucky enough to have had very few kitchen disasters along the way, so I feel pretty comfortable and confident that I can try new things and know that it will be ok.  It also helps that I’m a pretty great picker when it comes to meals at restaurants and recipes to make at home (Toot! Toot! That is the sound of me tooting my own horn).  Seriously though, people always have meal envy when we go to restaurants because I often pick the best things.

A few weeks back I was having two of my lady friends over for dinner and I wanted to make something delicious and dazzling.  I of course turned to the world of Ottolenghi for inspiration.  This time around I perused the interwebs and came across this chicken recipe from Ottolenghi’s self-titled cookbook that is now available for the first time in an American edition.  To be honest, what really drew me to this recipe was the fact that rose water is an ingredient.  When I went to the Middle East last spring I made a list of ingredients to bring back and rose water was on my list. I had visions of making all sorts of rose-flavoured delights. Of course that bottle has sat in my cupboard for months unused.  Unused until… this recipe!

The recipe doesn’t require any ingredients that are too crazy… the rose water is probably the most random but you can definitely find it at a place like Whole Foods or in the Middle Eastern aisle or grocery store if you have one in your hood.  I would say though that between the hazelnuts, honey and saffron this recipe can get a bit pricey if you don’t have the stuff on hand already.  Technique-wise this is also easy to put together.  You marinate the chicken for about an hour or overnight (obviously overnight is ideal) and then you pretty much just bake it and top it with this “nut paste” that you put together.  Super easy.

I’m quite pleased with how this turned out.  Essentially it’s just another recipe for roasted chicken BUT it’s roasted chicken with the dial turned up slightly.  The rose water adds an interesting note to the mix but isn’t overpowering at all.  The honey and hazelnuts and even more depth to the mix with the sweetness and earthy nuttiness.  I served this with two other Ottolenghi recipes.  One for squash and the other for mejadra rice… perfect accompaniments.


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4 Responses to Ottolenghi’s Roast Chicken With Saffron, Hazelnuts, and Honey

  1. Looks fantastic Tonya – perfect for this chilly weather! Love those flavours!

  2. Yum! I’ll eat anything with saffron! This sounds fabulous :)

  3. vicky says:

    have you tried the fennel/feta/pomegranate salad? YUM

  4. Charlie Trout says:

    Reminds me of something I ate in a little café in Odessa. It was absolutely delicious.

    I was there with this Ukrainian girl I’d met while biking through the northern parts of the country two weeks prior. She was truly amazing, a real intellectual. She spoke seven languages (!) and her greatest interest was politics.

    Reading about this fine dish really made me think about that meal and our conversation. We talked for so long about all sorts of political issues and it really made me start to question if our Western discourse is always as morally superior as we think it is.

    What if our modern form of representative democracy isn’t democratic at all? What if, as she said, it’s no longer a system to keep the people in power but rather a system to mask the elite’s self-serving rule as “people’s rule”?

    Isn’t it true that the “progressive” left wing-liberal culture of the political class is fundamentally different from the pragmatic conservatism of “normal folks” – and that this progressivism of the rich minority is what is allowed to rule unchallenged in our West?

    Ah, well. It’s not like we can change anything even if these claims are indeed true. And that girl is dead now. I found out just a week ago. She died from head injuries sustained at an anti-government protest.

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