Margarita's International Recipes


Chicken with Saffron and Cinnamon

Chicken with Saffron and Cinnamon

This recipe comes from a medieval manuscript, probably dating to the 14th century, found in Iceland. It was adapted to the modern kitchen by a Scandinavian cookbook writer.

It is difficult to know if this particular dish was ever made in Iceland, or whether the manuscript was imported from elsewhere. The dish falls within the flavors common in continental Europe at the time. Icelanders did raise chickens and they traded with the continent, so it would not be surprising if they obtained cinnamon and saffron as well as the other ingredients required for this dish, but they must have been awfully expensive, making this dish something only the economic elite could eat. All of this is to say that I wouldn't necessarily assume the dish is Icelandic per se. Still, I cooked it.

All in all, I was very pleased with the results. The chicken skin was very crispy and delicious. The chicken meat was moist and had a subtle but pleasant cinnamon flavor. In all, it's a good dish to make if you want something different.

I followed the original recipe pretty closely, though I had to double the marinade to cover all the chicken.

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Chicken with Saffron and Cinnamon


  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 tsp flour
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • large pinch of saffron
  • 4 - 5 lbs chicken pieces
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 tsp chicken base


Combine vinegar, olive oil, garlic, flour, cinnamon, salt and saffron in a bowl. Stir until smooth.

Coat both sides of each piece of chicken with the marinade and place it in a bowl or large plastic food bag. Marinade for 45 minutes at room temperature or up to 1 day in the fridge.

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Transfer chicken to a baking pan, skin side up, and cook for 30 minutes.

Add wine and chicken base, mixing to dilute the base. Continue cooking for 20-30 minutes or until the chicken is done.

Adapted from Andreas Viestad's recipe in Kitchen of Live

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