Saturday, May 7, 2016

Persian Grilled Chicken with Saffron

Last Year's Post:  Toasted Couscous Salad
Two Years Ago:   Flax Seed Crackers

This is hands-down my all-time favorite grilled chicken recipe.  It's slightly adapted from Steve Raichlen, the BBQ Guru, and he states "this will be one of the quickest, easiest and most delectable recipes you will ever prepare".  He's not kidding, either.  The yogurt helps the chicken stay moist while the lemon, onion and saffron give it the most heavenly flavor.  Just be aware that the chicken needs to marinate overnight, so plan ahead.  After that it's really fast so it would make a good weeknight meal.

Because of the yogurt, the marinade is unusually thick but that's a good thing.  In addition to wonderful flavor, the saffron gives the chicken a beautiful yellow color.

If you haven't purchased saffron before you need to know that it's expensive, but you don't need much.  And it's SO worth it.  Do give this recipe a try - you won't be disappointed.  One last thought - I want to try this recipe for chicken as the base for an exotic chicken salad sandwich with toasted almonds, currants, and a light lemon dressing in pitas.  I bet it would be a knockout, so make some extra chicken and give it a try.  (I wasn't smart enough this time.)

print recipe
Persian Grilled Chicken with Saffron
Serves 6-8

Note that the chicken marinates overnight so be sure to plan ahead.

½ teaspoon saffron
1 ½ cups plain yogurt
½ cup fresh lemon juice
1 onion, finely chopped (about 2 cups)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 1½“cubes

For the basting mixture:
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
¼ teaspoon saffron
3 tablespoons butter

Lemon wedges, for serving, optional

For the chicken:  place the saffron in a mortar and pestle and pulverize to a powder.  Transfer the saffron to a gallon zip-top plastic bag and add one tablespoon of warm water.  Massage the water and saffron together, then let stand for 5 minutes.  Add the yogurt, lemon juice, onion, salt, and pepper and massage the bag again to mix everything together.  Add the chicken cubes and seal the bag, then massage again to coat the chicken evenly.  Place in the refrigerator overnight.

Preheat a grill to medium-high. 

Prepare the basting mixture: pulverize the saffron as described above.  Gently warm the lemon juice in a small saucepan, add the saffron and let stand off the heat for five minutes.  Add the butter and gently warm the mixture until the butter melts.

Grill the chicken about 4-5 minutes, basting with the butter mixture, then turn over and grill for 2-3 minutes more while basting until the chicken is cooked through.

Serve with optional lemon wedges.

No comments: