Saffron chicken with leeks braised in almond rose milk


“When the Good Lord comes to doubt about the world, he remembers that he created Provence.”

~ Frédéric Mistral ~

Even if it is a bit haughty (though French would wholeheartedly disagree with this word), I love this quote. Between the lines it portrays just how spectacular Provence is.

Olive woods climbing up the hills, lavender fields coloring the landscape purple, rustic and picturesque villages inviting to get lost within miniature streets are the common images of Provence, but what I love most is the feeling you get stepping out of the plane in Marseille.

Life here goes just a little bit slower, lunches are longer, meals are fuller, and the visit to your butcher is not a five-minute affair.

While most locals will always find something to complain about (French after all, complaining is embedded in the dna), people here are tranquil and dare I say focused on leisure.

My parents in law live in one of those charming villages just North of Marseille. On the way there, I am always swooned by the breathtaking scenery of rocks, hills, wineries and this time, almond trees in full bloom. And the light. Between the alps and the swaying fierce mistral, the light in the area is crisp clear and illuminating, taken, the sun is shining.

I was a little less fortunate this time, as rain was upon us for almost half of the stay, but it gave the opportunity to do some culinary exploring, such as tasting bouillabaisse at Le Rhul in Marseille.

Le Rhul was one of the key restaurants in the 80’s to develop the bouillabaisse charter. This charter defines the precise ingredients a real bouillabaisse should contain, which separates it from a other types of fish stews. There are quite a few restaurants who still offer bouillabaisse even though it’s not the real thing, so if you are ever in Marseille, it is wise to check them before (and make reservations).

Le Rhul itself sits on a hill with a view on a blue Mediterranean bay. It’s a breeze of the old style French restaurants with waiters buzzing around and deboning sole meuniere in front of you. And their bouillabaisse is just excellent.

It’s starts with a bib tied around the neck, for a trip to infancy I suppose, but it’s rather practical considering the amounts of saffron bouillabaisse contains, and the types of seafood to tackle.

If you are ever in Marseille, eating a bouillabaisse is an experience you should not miss

After coming back. I had some thoughts of recreating a full bouillabaisse to share with, but considering the scale of work (and ingredients) required I’ll wait for a more momentous occasion for it.

In the meanwhile, I have an ancient recipe to share: leeks braised in almond milk with rosewater and pinch of cinnamon. The humble leek can be seen everywhere and in a case you run out of creative ideas on how to use it, here’s one from the past, all the way from middle ages. Rosewater and almonds were popular and given their wide availability there is no reason not to try.

It’s perfectly great as a stand alone snack, but pair it with saffron roasted chicken and the you’ll have something pretty sensational on your hands.

5.0 from 3 reviews
Saffron chicken with leeks braised in almond rose milk
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 2
  • Pinch of saffron
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 ½ tablespoon butter, softened
  • 2 chicken legs
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves, halved
  • Almonds braised in almond rose milk
  • 1 ¼ almond milk
  • 1-2 teaspoons rosewater
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 4 medium leeks, white parts only
  • handful sliced almonds
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/375F.
  2. Pound saffron with salt using mortar & pestle.
  3. Mix with butter, black pepper and rub the chicken legs all over.
  4. Place in a roasting dish, scatter garlic cloves and bake for 45-55 minutes.
  5. Halve the leaks lengthwise and arrange in single layer in a roasting dish.
  6. Combine rosewater, almond milk, cinnamon sugar, salt and pepper together (taste) and bring to light simmer.
  7. Pour over the almonds and place them in the oven along with the chicken legs when 35 minutes of baking time remain.
  8. The last 15 minutes of baking, scatter the almonds on top of leeks.
  9. Serve saffron chicken with leeks and pasta or rice if needed.

13 thoughts on “Saffron chicken with leeks braised in almond rose milk

  1. I’ve never been to Marseille, but when I get there bouillabaisse is definitely in the cards. In the meantime, I’ll have to satisfy myself with saffron chicken & leeks! Lovely dish — I always enjoy using rosewater in recipes (not to mention saffron!). Thanks.

  2. I have been to Marseille about 2 years ago in the fall and we rented a car and then drove down to the French Riveria and it was one of the most enlightening culinary trips I had ever taken. I was not cooking but enjoying lots of good eating. Your lovely dish reminds me of stopping along in the countryside and enjoying a beautiful dinner at one of the farm houses. Love your use of leeks, rose water and saffron, such a gorgeous dish. Have a lovely weekend. BAM

  3. you are so Lucky to go to the Provence! Your chiken looks so good and the picture are gorgeous!

  4. Wow – what a description of Provence! I just want to pack up and go on over there. Can’t wait to try the dish. I just love the Frédéric Mistral quote – priceless! :-)

  5. Ir tikrai, ten šviesa kitokia, o laikas tarsi slenka lėčiau :) Man Marselis patiko iš pirmo žvilgsnio, nors ir turėjom ne visai smagių (bet laimingai pasibaigusių) nuotykių ten :) Klimatas man ten tobulas, nors vasaros greičiausiai hiper karštos. Tik žuvienės taip ir neparagavom… Gal kitąsyk :)

    Patiko idėja su rožių vandeniu! Turėtų būti labai skanu.

  6. I didn’t know half of the time was rainy. :( But I am sure you figured a way to take photo shoot done (plus I saw some pics on IG?). I do remember bouillabaisse at Le Rhul in Marseille – I think you told me once and I had mental note about it. Ahh I wish I can go eat there one day! Never say never. :) Keep us posted about the ebook! 😉

  7. Reading this post is a pleasure for the eyes and I’m sure recreating this wonderful looking dish is pure pleasure for the taste buds too.
    I couldn’t agree more with Gabriela Mistral :)

  8. I’ve always wanted to travel to Provence. It sounds like a wonderful place indeed. Love all the pictures you shared, by the way!
    This chicken dish looks beyond spectacular. The flavor combo seems amazing, and definitely something I’d love to try soon! xx

  9. How fortunate you are to be able to spend time in such a gorgeous place. My husband bought me a book of Provence years ago and I still enjoy looking at the lovely pictures. Your pictures, as always, are quite lovely and your chicken looks amazing. This is one of those recipes that you’ll start savoring the smell long before you see the finish dish.

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