Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Roast Chicken with Saffron, Hazelnuts and Honey and Playing Catch Up!


Sometimes I feel like I've been playing catch up. When your life stops it takes awhile to catch up and that is what I'm doing. My life had been on hold for various reasons, some of which had to do with Manservant's travels and lack of work or to much work. Last year began my time of catch up, which I was more than ready to do. I could wax poetic on this, but my mantra to all girls just starting out is to always keep your foot in the door. Trust me, I learned the hard way. But rather than dwelling on the past, let's move into the present and let me tell you about why we are even talking about "catch up".

And what, by God, does this have to do with chicken? Trust me, I always seem to know where I'm going; I just don't know how I'm getting there! My recent foray at Costco found me deciding which Yotam Ottolenghi cookbook to buy. I already have Jerusalem and I've shared many of those recipes with you. I was all set to buy his new one, but it was the old one, the very first one, that caught my eye; so that is what I bought.

Trust me, I have bought very few cookbooks in the last 10 years. Luckily, I have a lot of cookbooks and the library has been a great resource, too. In the last ten years those two have kept me fed, so to speak! The truth is that I love cookbooks. I devour them like novels.I sleep with them by my bed. In my opinion, one can never have too many cookbooks. If you are ever wondering what to buy me, well, flowers and cookbooks will suffice!


And so it is I found myself facing "Ottolenghi" at dinnertime. On a cold winter night. In a cold house. It was snowing outside. I was hungry for more than a PB and J! Have I set the scene properly? So I opened the book to the middle. Truly, the page I opened to is page 123 and there are only like 283 pages in the book, so that is about the middle, isn't it? This recipe was on that page. And on the opposing page is another chicken recipe with za'atar that I am dying to make, too!

Now if you are smart, you will deduce from my photo that I had not planned to make this for a blog post. I planned to make this and eat it. I did not count on this being so good. I did not count on the aroma of chicken with ginger and cinnamon and saffron with plenty of black pepper and rosewater to bring Manservant up from his office and say, "That smells really good. When are we eating?" I did not have a plan on plating this and making it beautiful. I just planned on serving it with a salad and rice. But my last minute inner voice told me to take a picture, even though it was totally dark outside. My inner voice told me that something that smells so good has got to taste great. Trust me. I have developed a very good inner voice. I have very good intuition. 

Well, this chicken rocks! It will knock your socks off. It will send people running from all avenues of your home to see what you are making. It is special. It is simple. It is worth waiting 10 years for, when I could have made it way back in 2008, when this cookbook was published! My intuition tells me that you will love it. But my intuition also tells me that you may wonder about this odd sort of ingredients that aren't very American, so to speak. To this I say, "It is the new year. Time to try new things. Escape your box. Live a little. Catch up. And trust me!" I have great intuition!


Roast Chicken with Saffron, Hazelnuts and Honey
From: Yotam Ottolenghi - "Ottolenghi, The Cookbook"
Time to Make: About 20 minutes
Ingredients:
1 chicken, divided into pieces or quarters
2 onions, coarsely chopped
4 T olive oil
1 t ground ginger or a few gratings of fresh
1 t ground cinnamon
a generous pinch of saffron threads
Juice of 1 lemon
4 T cold water
2 t coarse salt
1 t fresh ground black pepper
3/4 c unskinned hazelnuts
3 1/2 T honey
2 T rose water
2 chopped green onions

Directions:
In a large bowl, mix the chicken pieces with the onions, olive oil, ginger, cinnamon, saffron, lemon juice, water, salt and pepper. Leave to marinate up to overnight, but at least for a few hours. (I think I marinated this about 3 hours.)

Preheat the oven to 375. Spread the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and toast for about 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Chop coarsely and set side.

Transfer the chicken and marinade to a parchment line baking sheet, large enough to not crowd everything. Place chicken skin side up and place the pan in the oven for about 35 minutes.

While the chicken is roasting, mix the honey, rose water and nuts together to make a rough paste. Remove the chicken from the oven and spoon a generous amount onto each piece. Return to oven for about 10 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and the nuts are golden. You can place this under the broiler if you want it more golden, but watch that the nuts do not burn.

Serve the chicken sprinkled with green onion.


Other great chicken dishes:

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14 comments:

  1. Oh, boy, with that endorsement, I know this has to be amazing! I've been eyeing his cookbooks, too---might be time to splurge!

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  2. This looks wonderful! And I actually have all the ingredients on hand except for the green onions. And the chicken. ;-) So I guess that means I need to get chicken, right? I think it does! Really nice -- thanks.

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  3. Saffron and rosewater...wow this roasted chicken looks so exotic and packed with flavours, Abbe.

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  4. Lovely ingredient list so you know this has got to taste amazing and it looks amazing too. I know I have this problem many times as I usually never take photos the first time I make something as I need to work on the recipe and make changes as I go along and oh yes that whole measuring thing too. Sometimes I have the best lighting on the first time I make something and then the next time I go to make the dish I have the worst lighting day. It is always my luck. Great dish!

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  5. I love Yotam and his recipes. Beautiful dish Abbe!

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  6. This really sounds amazing, Abbe, I love saffron. He really puts such interesting combinations together, I share your enthusiasm for bedtime reading :)

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  7. Given a choice between PB&J and this absolutely gorgeous chicken dish, I think I'd go with the chicken. It looks amazing!

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  8. This looks delicious Abbe. I have that cookbook and can you believe I've never made anything from it? And hardly looked at it???? I need to put it on the "2014 DO IT" list. Happy 2015! Let's make it a delicious one .. between you and me we have enough cookbooks to do so.

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  9. Love Ottolenghi. This Christmas I bought his new book Plenty More for my friend and she has been thrilled with it. Hope you are having a delicious New Year, Abbe.

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  10. What a mouthwatering combination, saffron and hazelnuts must give a nutty delicious to the crispy chicken!
    Must try this for my brother :D

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

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  11. Good advice about keeping foot in door. Good Heavens what a build up for a recipe. It was a real page turner. AND I was not disappointed with the ending. Ha. What a boat load of spices and wow it looks delectable. I love cookbooks too, but I have had to cut myself off. Yes, thank heavens for the library so that you can fondle and read the new ones.

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  12. Lovely combo in chicken,looks delicious

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  13. Hi abbe! We hear ya- we are doing the same here! This chicken dish does ROCK! And we wish you a blessed 2015!
    xoxo Anna and Liz

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  14. Everything fancy and delicious with saffron!!!

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