Marinated chicken with charred limes, saffron butter and soft flatbreads

Marinated chicken with charred limes, saffron butter and soft flatbreads

By
From
Citrus
Serves
4
Photographer
Mowie Kay

Sally Butcher and her husband Jamshid kindly talked me through this recipe, which is a Middle Eastern classic. Poussin are skinned, cut up and left to sit in a bath of lime juice for 24 hours, before they are grilled or barbecued, basted all the while with saffron butter. Persians normally use a concentrated bottled juice for this which is seriously sherbety and a bit of an acquired taste. Use this or a regular bottled sort – or if you can find a use for zest (there are plenty of ideas dotted around this book!) use around 12–15 large limes.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1 chicken, each cut into 10 pieces, skin on
a large pinch saffron strands
1 tablespoon boiling water
100g butter
1 garlic clove, crushed
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

For the marinade

Quantity Ingredient
a large pinch saffron strands
1 tablespoon boiling water
250ml lime juice (or sour orange or lemon)
1 onion, coarsely grated

For the cucumber and yogurt sauce

Quantity Ingredient
200ml yogurt
a handful mint leaves, finely chopped
1/2 cucumber, peeled, halved lengthways, deseeded, grated and drained
A pinch sugar

To serve

Quantity Ingredient
4 limes, halved
* soft flatbreads [rid:36959]
flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Lime-pickled red onions

Method

  1. Put the chicken in a refrigerator-friendly receptacle. Season generously with salt and pepper. Using a pestle and mortar, grind the saffron for the marinade with a pinch of salt and mix with the boiling water. Add to the citrus juice and pour the lot over the chicken or poussins, along with the onion. Refrigerate and marinate overnight.
  2. The next day, either get your barbecue ready or heat your oven to its highest temperature. Grind and soak the saffron in the boiling water, as before, and put it in a saucepan with the butter and garlic. Melt together.
  3. Drain and pat dry the chicken pieces then either arrange over your barbecue or a baking tray. Baste with the butter and cook for 10 minutes. Baste again, cook for a further 10 minutes, then repeat. By this time the chicken should be cooked through and nicely browned and blistered. Reheat any remaining butter.
  4. Put the limes on the barbecue or on a griddle pan for a couple of minutes.
  5. Mix the yogurt with the mint and grated cucumber, and season with salt and a pinch of sugar.
  6. To serve, warm through the flatbreads. Serve the chicken torn from the bone and piled into flatbreads with the yogurt, any leftover basting butter, parsley, pickled onions and squeezes of the charred limes.
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