Spatchcocked Saffron Chicken Recipe | PBS Food

This spatchcocked saffron chicken recipe appears in the "Grilled Favorites" episode of Martha Stewart's Cooking School.


Yield: Serves 4



  • 1 whole chicken (about 4 pounds or 2 kilograms)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 6 tablespoons ghee
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon saffron threads
  • Safflower oil, for grill


  1. To spatchcock a chicken, cut along each side of the backbone with shears. Remove the backbone and reserve it for stock (it can be frozen up to 3 months). Turn chicken breast-side up; flatten it with your palm.
  2. In a small bowl, combine mint, cilantro, 3 tablespoons ghee, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon saffron. Carefully loosen skin from breasts and thighs with your fingers and rub ghee mixture under skin. Place chicken on a plate, cover, and refrigerate at least 1 hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (177 degrees C) and heat a grill or grill pan over medium-high. Brush grill with oil to prevent sticking. Rub chicken with remaining 3 tablespoons ghee and season with remaining 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon saffron. Reduce heat to medium.
  4. Grill the chicken, skin-side down, for 20 minutes. For more even cooking, the chicken can be weighted with a foil-covered brick, if desired. Flip chicken and transfer to a rimmed baking sheet and cook until a theromometer inserted into the thickest part, without touching the bone, registers 165 degrees (74 degrees C), 20 to 25 minutes more.
  5. Transfer to a plate, cover, and let rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.
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