This Moroccan-inspired roast chicken is one of the simplest in Yotom Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi's Ottolenghi cookbook, and it is also one of the most memorable. Process-wise, it is dead simple: marinate the chicken, stick it in the oven, glaze, and serve. The warm spices, honey, and rose water give the quartered chicken a floral perfume while the rendered schmaltz and hazelnuts ground the scent, keeping it from veering into potpourri territory. A few pieces of scallion add a final green flourish.
Why I picked this recipe: I was too intrigued by the combination of chicken and rose water to pass this one up.
What worked: Everything about this easy entrée worked great. The final dish looked quite beautiful—perfect for a dinner party or holiday entertaining.
What didn't: No problems here.
Suggested tweaks: You could use almonds or perhaps pine nuts instead of the hazelnuts if you want to switch things up. If you use pine nuts, you probably won't need to pre-toast them. You can find rose water in Middle Eastern grocery stores. You could easily double this recipe if you want to serve a crowd.
Reprinted with permission from Ottolenghi: The Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. Copyright 2013. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House. All rights reserved. Available wherever books are sold.
- 1 large organic or free-range chicken, divided into quarters: breast and wing, leg and thigh
- 2 onions, coarsely chopped
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- A generous pinch of saffron threads
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 4 tablespoons cold water
- 2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Scant 3/4 cup (100 g) unskinned hazelnuts
- 3 1/2 tablespoons (70 g) honey
- 2 tablespoons rose water
- 2 green onions, coarsely chopped
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 for at least an hour, or overnight in the fridge.
Preheat the oven to 375°F / 190°C. Spread the hazelnuts out on a baking sheet and toast for 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Chop coarsely and set aside.
Transfer the chicken and marinade to a baking sheet large enough to accommodate everything comfortably. Arrange the chicken pieces skin side up and put 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, spoon a generous amount of nut paste onto each piece, and spread it to cover. Return to the oven for 5 to 10 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and the nuts are golden brown.
Transfer the chicken to a serving dish and garnish with the chopped green onions.