Chicken with Hazelnuts, Cinnamon and Maple Syrup

 When discussing my plan to make this dish with a friend, she helpfully pointed out that my ‘bizarre’ choice of ingredients for the chicken marinade might be better suited to cake or biscuit then a savoury meal. Followed by ‘what are you gonna serve it with a tablespoon of Nutella?’ This coming from the person who could single handedly create a twenty-man raft on the Thames with the amount of Salad Cream pots she gets through in a month – as if i was going to listen.
For all those people out there that are slightly hesitant with food alchemy let me implore you, there is method to my madness!  I made the dish… and oh how wrong she was, my high hopes for this Ottolenghi inspired dish dish did not disappoint. The warmth of the cinnamon and ginger, the freshness of the rosewater and lemon, combined with the sticky sweet syrup was pure tastebud popping bliss! Perfect served with fluffy Jasmine Rice. The first time i made this dish i included Saffron and Rosewater, as Ottolenghi does, however after making it again i can honestly say that the Chicken does’nt miss it. Naturally with these included is blissful, however this is student cooking and Saffron is only a goer when its on someone else’s shelves, if you catch my drift…
  • 10 Skinned Chicken Thighs (or a combination of drumsticks and thighs)
  • 10 Spring Onions, roughly chopped
  • 4 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp ground Ginger
  • 1 tsp ground Cinnamon
  • juice of 1 Lemon
  • 4 tbsp Water
  • 2 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1 tsp fresh Black Pepper
  • 100g (unskinned) Hazelnuts
  • 60g Maple Syrup
  • 2 tbsp Rosewater (optional)

For the marinade add two thirds of the spring onions, ginger, cinnamon, lemon juice, olive oil, rosewater, water, salt and pepper to a bowl, and mix.
Prepare the chicken by removing the any excess fat off the meat before coating  it in the marinade. Leave the chicken in the fridge for an hour or two (overnight is best.)
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius.
Roughly chop the hazelnuts, scatter them on a large baking tray to roast for  8-10 minutes. Once cooked set them aside in a bowl.
Place the chicken on a baking tray (skin side up) Place in the oven to cook for 30 mins, or until golden and cooked through.
Add the maple syrup, and rosewater to the bowl with the hazelnuts and mix. Remove the chicken, spoon the hazelnut mixture on top. Return the chicken to the oven for a further 10 minutes, or until the juices are run clear (cooking time will depend on the size of the thighs you are using)
Scatter over the remaining spring onion and serve whilst hot.
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