Sunday, April 4, 2010

Saffron Chicken Leg with Salsa Verde, Pumpkin Puree and Fennel Salad

Happy Easter everyone! This year's Easter celebration was held at my family's house, and i was asked to make an entree. So after scouring the internet for hours, i found a dish that was intricate, unusual and maybe a little more than i could chew. Bringing a broad spectrum of flavours to the table, this dish has a beautiful aroma of saffron in the chicken marinade, a decadently rich buttery pumpkin puree, contrasting with the aniseed notes of the fennel salad and the sharp, herby twang of the salsa verde. This is definitely a dish for cooking for a lot of people as the work that goes into it is considerable.

Ingredients (Serves 8 as entree)


  • 8 chicken drumsticks, skin on
  • 1 bulb of garlic, peeled
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 large pinch saffron threads
  • 1/2 cup basil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Pumpkin Puree

  • 700gm buternut pumpkin
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 250g unsalted butter

Salsa Verde

  • 1/3 cup fresh mint
  • 2/3 cup parsley
  • 2 tbsp capers
  • 2 tbsp anchovies
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • Olive oil

Fennel Salad

  • 2 fennel bulbs
  • 2 cups noisettes or baby spinach
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper



Place the garlic and oil in a small saucepan over a very low heat
Cook, trying not to bring the oil to a simmer, for 45 minutes or until garlic is soft
Hint:A good way of doing this is to place the saucepan in an oven set to 85 degrees.
Remove garlic and place in a food processor with basil, saffron and a little of the cooking oil and blend.
Place chicken legs into a plastic bag and pour in the marinade.
Mix through and refrigerate for 24 hours, shaking the bag occasionally.
Preheat oven to 160 degrees.
Place chicken on baking paper and into oven for 45 minutes.
Raise oven temperature to 240 and cook for a further 10 minutes on top shelf to help brown the chicken.
Remove chicken and let rest for 10 minutes.

Pumpkin Puree

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. 
Chop the pumpkin into large chunks and toss in a bowl with olive oil, salt and pepper
Place on a baking tray in oven until pumpkin is beginning to brown.
Place pumpkin into the food processor with the butter and blend into a fine puree.

Refrigerate until ready to use.

Salsa Verde

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend into a fine puree. If needed, add some olive oil to help loosen the mixture into a loose paste.

Fennel Salad

Finely shave the fennel.
Mix in a bowl with the noisettes.
Add lemon juice, oil, salt and pepper and toss through


Place 1 heaped tbsp of warmed pumpkin puree in centre of plate.
Place the chicken leg next to this and the fennel salad next to the chicken leg.
Draw a line of salsa verde on the plate.

Again, happy easter!

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