Persian Saffron & Lemon Chicken
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Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 1 hr 30 mins
Perk up your roast by glossing your chicken with this saffron-spiked marinade, inspired by Middle Eastern flavours.
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342 kcal
(per portion)
Ingredients you'll need
  • 1.6kg whole free range chicken
  • 500g yogurt
  • A pinch of saffron powder
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 bay leaves
From your kitchen
  • Sea salt
You'll need
  • Roasting tin
  • Bowl
  • Foil
Step by step this way
  • 1.

    Unwrap your chicken. Remove the giblets (see our tip on how to use them). Put the chicken in a roasting tin.

  • 2.

    Pour half the yogurt into a bowl. Add most of the saffron powder, the zest of your lemon, a squeeze of juice from half the lemon and a good pinch of salt. Mix. Put the squeezed lemon half and bay leaves in the chicken cavity. Spread the saffron yogurt all over the chicken.

  • 3.

    Cover the whole roasting tin with foil and set aside to let the chicken marinate for at least 30 mins at room temperature, or overnight in the fridge if possible. If doing the latter, make sure you bring the chicken back to room temperature before cooking.

  • 4.

    While the chicken marinates, heat your oven to 180°C/Fan 160°C/Gas 4. Keep the chicken covered and roast for 1 hr. Remove the chicken from the oven.

  • 5.

    Turn the oven up to 220°C/Fan 200°C/Gas 7. Uncover the chicken. Return it to the oven and roast for 30 mins or till golden brown and the juices run clear when you pierce the fattest part of the leg. Cook a little longer if the juices aren’t clear.

  • 6.

    Let the chicken rest for a good 30 mins to 1 hr, loosely covered with foil, before carving. Mix the remaining yogurt and saffron together. Serve the chicken with the saffron yogurt and the remaining lemon half, sliced into wedges, for squeezing.

  • 7.

  • Tip

    Beak to Tail Feather Eating
    Don't throw away your giblets. Use them to make stock for your gravy, or turn them into our amazing Dirty Cajun Rice recipe, which you can find at