Syrian Chicken with Saffron, Ginger And Lemon

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The smell of saffron has a very special place in my heart.  The memories evoked not only from the original source of my childhood, but the consequential moments along the way working in kitchens, baking in my own kitchen and tasting foods whilst travelling have only served to increase the significance of this exclusive and distinct spice.

When I saw this recipe in Karen Martini’s Cooking At Home there was no way I wasn’t giving it a try.  I’ll be honest and say the ingredient list looked a little overwhelming in its length but having spent time recently making curries where the first 15 ingredients are only the spices I know that it’s not always a bad thing to have this many ingredients, often it just adds to the deliciousness.

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Crazy as it sounds this is actually a very quick dish to create and is well suited to the premise of Martini’s book being quick easy meals to create at home with a family when time and energy is short, but you don’t want to sacrifice on flavour.

I particularly liked the sweetness that the sultana’s/ currents impart and the nice marriage of flavours that didn’t leave one spice dominating over another.   I may have cooked my chicken a little longer than was recommended so that it fell apart upon eating, but I don’t think it detracted from the overall dish.  In fact I’d be tempted to do the same again, but next time I’ll cook with meat on the bone for a sweeter and more meaty result.

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I made a few adaptions to the recipe based on personal taste and availability of ingredients in my kitchen.  What I loved about this recipe is that it is not bound by needed to be a particular way and does lend itself to you following your intuition and preference without it making a massive difference to the eventual outcome.   For example I used fresh chicken stock and ditched the vegetable stock powder and water because I had some in the kitchen and wanted to use it.  I also substituted the currents with sultanas and whilst they were more plump they still did their job of giving that sweet edge to the dish which it needed.   Over all this creation for this month’s Cookbook Guru was another delicious discovery and one that I’ll be repeating in the coming cooler months of the year.

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Syrian Chicken with Saffron, Ginger & Lemon

from Cooking At Home by Karen Martini

Serves 4

  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1.4-1.6kg of chicken cut into 8 pieces
  • 100ml olive oil
  • 2 brown onions thickly sliced
  • 100g fresh ginger cut into match sticks
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 2 small red chillis split
  • 2 tomatoes coarsely chopped
  • 2 pinches saffron threads
  • ½ cumin seeds
  • 5 springs thyme, leaves only
  • Coarsely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbl honey
  • 100g currents
  • 2 tbl sp vegetable stock powder
  • ½ bunch coriander, leaves only

Combine salt, cumin, cinnamon, pepper and turmeric into a large plastic bag and add chicken.  Massage until chicken is well coated.

Heat olive oil in a heavy based pan. Add chicken and brown on all sides.  Remove from the heat and set aside.  Add onions, ginger, garlic, and chilli and cook for 3 minutes.  Add tomato, saffron, cumin seeds and thyme and cook for a further 2 minutes.

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Return chicken to the pan and add lemon juice, zest, honey, currents, stock powder and just enough water to cover the chicken.  Cover with a lid and cook on a medium heat for about 10 minutes. Uncover and cook for a further 15 minutes or until chicken is tender and cooked through and the sauce is slightly reduced. Stir in coriander and serve with couscous or rice.

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Happy Cooking & Happy Eating,

Leah

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32 Comments Add yours

  1. Oh, wow, Leah. This is one of the most gorgeous dishes I have seen in a while. You had me at saffron, chef. 🙂

    Like

    1. Leah says:

      oh thank you! It’s well worth trying to make even if the ingredients list looks a little intimidating. The actual method is quite easy and the flavours are delicious. 🙂 Happy Sunday x

      Like

      1. It does not look intimidating, but delicious. 🙂 Many ingredients are a good sign to me. When we whip up a recipe, if there are too few ingredients, I am very concerned!!!!!!!!! Have a lovely Saturday night.

        Like

      2. Leah says:

        lol, well I hope you do end up making it and I’d love to hear what you think 🙂

        Like

  2. ladyredspecs says:

    Snap, I’m post in the same (but different) recipe, been making it for yonks now. I know how delicious it is! Xxxx

    Like

    1. Leah says:

      nice one! I was actually thinking today that it would be delicious with some fish instead of chicken too… I might have to put that on my list 🙂 xx

      Like

      1. ladyredspecs says:

        Something strong like flake would be good! Xxo

        Like

    1. Leah says:

      thank you! I’ll check out your spoons now 🙂

      Like

  3. Damn. This needs to get in my belly!!

    Like

    1. Leah says:

      Why thank you! There is still some left overs in the fridge which you’re welcome too but I think that this dish might be better a little fresher 🙂

      Like

  4. alwaysamum says:

    Reblogged this on Favourite Gluten Free Recipes and commented:
    I can almost smell the fragrance of the spices.

    Like

    1. Leah says:

      Oh thank you! the flavours were beautiful, it really is a great combination.

      Like

  5. Charisma says:

    That looks incredibly tasty!

    Like

    1. Leah says:

      Thank you, it was delicious 🙂

      Like

  6. bitsofnice says:

    Absolutely delicious. We are making this next weekend for sure!

    Like

    1. Leah says:

      thank you. I’d love to hear what you think of it if you do end up making it 🙂

      Like

  7. Sally says:

    The saffron gives a depth of flavour that’s hard to beat doesn’t it. Lovely, lovely recipe.

    Like

    1. Leah says:

      yeah, its pretty special. Thank you.

      Like

  8. nancy@jamjnr says:

    That looks so warm and inviting I wanted to stick a fork through the screen!! I’m freezing here can you send me a doggie bag?

    Like

    1. Leah says:

      oh bless, thank you. I’m thinking it might be a bit frosty by the time it reaches you. By the way I made my stock a la Nancy slow cooking it for 36 hours… amazing!!!! 🙂

      Like

  9. Leah says:

    Reblogged this on The Cookbook Guru and commented:

    Another Chicken contribution for this month’s Cookbook Guru from Karen Martini. I’ve stuck to the middle eastern flavours but this time we’ve got a fragrant saffron with ginger and lemon… a must try!

    Leah

    Like

  10. Glenda says:

    Hi Leah, This was my second choice to make from the book. You beat me to it. I may still make it.

    Like

    1. Leah says:

      I did wonder if someone else would choose it because it was immediately appealing to me. I would absolutely recommend making it as it was sensational and well worth trying. Leah 🙂

      Like

  11. Wow, it looks just perfect and just whetted my apetite although it is way past dinnertime and actually time to go to sleep! 🙂

    Like

    1. Leah says:

      Oh thank you. It was delicious and well worth repeating 🙂

      Like

  12. chefmo73 says:

    Eating cuisines with saffron makes you feel like royalty. The color itself enticing.

    Like

    1. Leah says:

      I couldn’t agree more, its a very special spice in very many ways. 🙂

      Like

  13. marymtf says:

    I made this recipe recently. You’re right, Leah, it seems daunting but it isn’t, although I think I overdid the ginger. I love ginger.

    Like

    1. Leah says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed it. I love ginger too but find I have to be moderate about it because my other half is not such a fan. Probably not a bad thing or I’d lose my other flavours in my food from my enthusiasm. 🙂

      Like

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