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Lemon Saffron Chicken Wings with Pomegranate Dipping Sauce

Kindi Lantz March 14, 2019

Chicken Wings Marinated in Lemon & Saffron with Pomegranate Reduction

Last week, we commenced our series of unusual saffron recipes, with a saffron-infused creamy cauliflower soup topped with smoked trout. This particular type of saffron recipe is a rare gem in a sea of paellas, biryanis, Bouillabaisses, and risottos.

That’s not to say you should avoid trying your hand at these more common saffron recipes. There is absolutely a time for traditional recipes, they are both delicious and for many, nostalgic. But saffron is far too unique and flavorful to be restricted to only such recipes. Like any ingredient, the many possible uses for saffron should be explored. So, I encourage you to try something new, experiment in the kitchen, and use saffron (or any ingredient) in a way you have never done before!

I don’t know about you, but for me both finding ways to use and tasting unexpected ingredients in dishes is exhilarating. When we get out of our culinary comfort zone, we enliven both our creative juices in the kitchen and our palette—and that’s precisely what this series aims to do.

In this recipe, I’ve combined that earthy, subtle sweetness of saffron with tangy lemon to produce a simple marinade for chicken wings. Don’t let the simplicity of this marinade fool you, the flavor is nearly intoxicating on its own. When dipped in the reduction of pomegranate juice, sweet cream butter, and fragrant spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, though, this dish transforms into a thing of brilliance, with elements of sweet, tangy, savory, and spice coming crashing together on the taste buds to create a sort of nebulous culinary masterpiece.

Try it out and let me know what you think!

Saffron Marinated Chicken Wings with Pomegranate Reduction


For the wings:

  • 15-20 chicken wings
  • ½ teaspoon saffron, soaked in 3 tablespoons warm water for 30 minutes
  • ¼ cup minced yellow onion
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh cracked pepper

For the dipping sauce:

  • 2 cups pomegranate juice
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon Ceylon cinnamon powder
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes
  • Dash of black pepper


For the chicken:

  1. Puree all ingredients except chicken together.
  2. Pour the mixture over the wings and toss to coat thoroughly.
  3. Let the wings marinate in this mixture overnight.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350℉ and cook for about 35 minutes or until the wings have reached an internal temperature of 165℉.

For the dipping sauce:

  1. Melt the butter in a small saucepan.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a slight boil.
  3. Let boil, stirring continuously, for about 1 minute.
  4. Turn the heat down to a simmer and stir occasionally for about 30 minutes, or until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
  5. Pull from the burner and stir continuously as the sauce slightly cools. Failure to stir may result in separation of the sauce.

Serving Suggestions

Pile the wings on a plate and serve the sauce on the side. This dish makes a great appetizer or main course for either a casual meal or surprising addition to a more upscale dinner party.

For this recipe, I used Sargol Cut Persian Saffron but you can find the full line of Slofoodgroup saffron varieties here

What are some of the unusual ways you have used saffron in dishes? Let us know in the comments section.