This week over at I Heart Cooking Clubs it is all about nuts. I do love a nut, all sorts of nuts, cashews, brazil nuts, pistachios, walnuts, pecans & I usually have some almonds to hand to snack on. Sweet or savoury I really like them any which way. My favourite though would be the earthy & elegant hazelnut*. A little toasty, a little buttery & ever so delicious.
I was flicking through the Ottolenghi app, in a spare moment, & I came across this little delight, inspired by a Claudia Roden recipe in her book Tamarind & Saffron. The exotic combination of rosewater, saffron & cinnamon was too tempting to resist not to mention the topping of hazelnuts; roasted & mixed with honey & rosewater. Immediately I drifted off & I could imagine all those fragrant aromas that would be emanating from the oven & wafting through this kitchen....
*Hazelnuts, also known as filberts, are a healthy option. They are rich in protein, complex carbs, fibre, iron, calcium & vitamin E. They are also very low in sodium & sugar & contain no cholesterol. Over 80% of the total fat in hazelnuts is mono-unsaturated. So they are a super healthy snack!
Ottolenghi’s Roast Chicken with Hazelnuts, Honey & Saffron
For the chicken
1 chicken cut in to pieces, thighs, legs, breasts or do as I did & buy the pieces.
2 medium onions, roughly chopped
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch of saffron threads
Juice of a lemon
Salt & pepper
For the hazelnut paste
100g hazelnuts, lightly roasted and chopped roughly
2 tbsp rosewater*
*I was so sure I had some rosewater lurking in the pantry, but on a good look; no. So for a hint of the exotic I added orange blossom water instead. Granted it is a little different from the prescribed rosewater but still that sweet, fragrant, perfumey aroma that whisks you off to far off exotic lands.
In a large dish mix the chicken pieces with the onion, olive oil, ginger, cinnamon, saffron, lemon juice, water, salt and pepper. Place in the fridge to marinate for at least an hour, or overnight, in the fridge.
Preheat the oven to 190C/375F & transfer the chicken and the marinade to a roasting dish large enough to accommodate everything in a single layer cook for 30-35 minutes.
Meanwhile mix the hazelnuts, honey and rosewater together to make a paste. Remove the chicken from the oven & spoon the hazelnut paste onto the chicken pieces. Return to the oven for 10 more minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the nuts are a toasty golden brown colour. The juices will run clear when cooked through.
If you like you can transfer to a serving platter or if you are going rustic serve straight from the roasting pan. Serve over rice or couscous or even a little of this celeriac puree as I did.
Golden, toasty, buttery & fragrant this is a perfect winter warmer that will whisk you off to warmer, more exotic climes for just a little while.
If you like this you might like this Chicken, Fennel & Orange Casserole
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