Lemon and saffron are a classic flavour combination for chicken in Persian cuisine. If you’ve ever visited a Persian Kabab restaurant you have probably sampled Jujeh Kabab – delicious skewers of barbequed chicken marinated in lemon, saffron & yogurt.
Although this dish has somewhat a similar flavour profile to Jujeh Kabab, I find that roasting the chicken adds a lovely crispy texture and delicious aroma. Lemon and Saffron Roasted Chicken pairs exceptionally well with many Persian rice dishes, especially Zereshk Polo.
Saffron & Lemon Roasted Chicken
4 chicken legs, bone in & skin on (you may use bone in & skin on breasts if you wish)
juice of one lemon
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp ground saffron disolved in 2 tbsp boiling water
salt and pepper
Put chicken in a marinating dish and season liberally with salt and pepper. Pour the lemon juice and the olive oil over the chicken and turn to coat. Using a pastry brush, coat both sides of the chicken in the saffron water.
Cover with plastic wrap and let marinate in the fridge for at least one hour or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place chicken in roasting pan and roast for 45 minutes. At about 20 minutes into the cooking process use the juices to baste the chicken using a baster or a spoon if you don’t have one. Baste again at about 35 minutes.
When ready take it out of the oven, cover very loosely with foil and let it rest for 10 minutes.
This chicken dish goes very well with many Persian rice dishes such as Zereshk Polo (Rice with Saffron & Barbarries, Albaloo Polo (Rice with Sour Cherries) or Adas Polo (Rice with Lentils, Dates & Raisins). But it is also delicious with simple steamed rice, potatoes or salad.