Persian Roasted Chicken with Dried Cherry-Saffron Rice

Persian Roasted Chicken with Dried Cherry-Saffron Rice


  • 60 ml olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp saffron threads, crushed
  • 1 kg chicken thighs and legs, with skin, on the bone
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 250 g basmati rice
  • 150 g butter
  • 100 g dried sour cherries
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 30 g slivered almonds


  1. Combine olive oil, onion, lemon juice, cumin and half of the saffron in a large bowl. Add the chicken, season with salt and pepper and coat well with the marinade. Let it stand at room temperature for about an hour.
  2. Drain the chicken, scraping off the onion and saffron and transfer it to a large roasting pan. Add about 60 ml water, cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes in a preheated oven on 375°F/190°C. Uncover and bake for 25 minutes more.
  3. While the chicken is roasting, fill a large saucepan with water, add salt and bring to a boil. Add the rice and cook for about 10 minutes. Drain the cooked rice. In a small bowl, dissolve the remaining saffron in 1 tablespoon of water. Put the rice into a bowl and stir in the saffron water.
  4. Melt the butter with the dried sour cherries and sugar. Spoon one third of the rice into a buttered baking dish. Top with half of the sour cherries, butter and slivered almonds. Cover with half of the remaining rice and the remaining sour cherries, butter and almonds. Top with the last layer of rice and pour remaining butter on top, if there is any. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for about 20 minutes (while the chicken is baking).
  5. Preheat the broiler when the rice is done. Broil the chicken, skin side down, for 2 minutes. Turn the chicken and broil until the skin is browned and crisp, for about 3 minutes.



  1. mediocre at best....too much effort for little result.....shake and bake yields more flavor....doesn't anyone have a decent saffron-chicken recipe?????

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