Fragrant saffron chicken







Cook Time

70-75 Min


  • 2 chickens, about 1.6kg/3 1⁄2lb each
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 2 celery sticks, sliced
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 50g/2oz butter
  • 225g/8oz onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 4 dried apricots
  • grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 300ml/10fl oz dry white wine
  • 3 tablespoons clear honey
  • 1 teaspoon mild curry paste
  • 300ml/10fl oz mayonnaise
  • 300ml/10fl oz double cream
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Put the chickens in two separate large saucepans. Cover with cold water and add the carrot, celery, peppercorns and 1⁄2 bay leaf to each. Bring slowly to the boil, cover and simmer very gently for about 1 hour. Pierce the thigh joints with a skewer to test if cooked – the juices should run clear. Leave the chickens to cool in their poaching liquid.
  • Drain the chickens. Remove and discard the skin, strip off the meat and discard the bones. Cut the meat into bite-size pieces. Set aside.
  • Melt the butter in a medium saucepan, and sauté the onion until soft. Grind the saffron strands to a powder using a mortar and pestle. Stir into the onions with the apricots, lemon zest, white wine, honey, curry paste and 1 bay leaf. Bring to the boil. Simmer, uncovered, for about 10 minutes until well reduced and the consistency of chutney.
  • Cool and purée in a blender or food processor, then sieve.
  • Fold the cold saffron mixture into the mayonnaise. Whip the cream until it just holds its shape. Fold into the mayonnaise mixture, and season with salt and pepper.
  • Mix together the chicken pieces and the mayonnaise mixture, and serve on a bed of rice.
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