Roast Chicken with Arabic Spices

roast chicken with Arabic spices

I’ve been running to the various Halal markets buying Arabic spices: Sumac, and spices blends Ras el Hanout and Za’atar to make recipes from Ottolenghi’s “Simple” cookbook. Inspired by the recipe on the package of Ras el Hanout, I made this simple but tasty roast chicken. The skin is crisp and flavorful.

I’ve found that roasting a chicken breast side down yields a much juicier bird, especially the breast meat which benefits from the juices flowing down.

I surrounded it by giant shallots, since they go so well with roast chicken. I was in a hurry so I left the skins on and figured they’d come out moister that way.

Arabic spices

Ingredients:

  • One chicken (We spend the big bucks to buy Rocky chicken which is organic and air chilled, since it does taste a lot better and I imagine the hens are happier)
  • Olive oil (EVOO)
  • Sumac
  • Ras el Hanout
  • Za’atar
  • Kosher salt
  • freshly ground garlic salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 lemon, cut in half
  • 4 large shallots

Directions:

Preheat oven to 430′. Grease a large roasting pan with olive oil. Rinse chicken inside and out, and dry with paper towels, then set breast side up on the roasting pan. Sprinkle the spices, salt and pepper all over the top of the chicken, including legs and wings, and in the cavity. Pour oil into a ramekin or teacup and use a basting brush to paint the oil over the chicken. Dip the brush into any spices that fell on the pan. Separate the skin from the breast with your fingers, and paint the spice-infused oil in that space. Place the lemon pieces inside the cavity.

Flip the chicken over so that it is breast side down. Repeat the spices and oil on the back side, including legs and wings. Place shallots around the chicken.

Roast for 1 1/2 hours at 430′

Nice served with couscous.

 

 

Sumac and Za’atar Roasted Chicken

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Ground sumac and za’atar seasonings are available at Middle Eastern markets. Sumac (also spelled sumaq or summag) is made from the red sumac berry and has a lemony taste. Za’atar is a mixture of dried thyme and cilantro, sesame seed, sumac, and salt. There are different versions that you can buy or make.

?onion, sumac and za'atarPreheat oven to 450’ Rinse chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Place breast up on an oiled roasting pan.

Slice an onion thinly and sauté in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil with a few spoonfuls of sumac, za’atar, and 1 teaspoon of salt until soft.

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While onions are cooking, chop 6 garlic cloves and stuff them between the skin and breast meat. Sprinkle salt on the top of the chicken and use your hands to spread garlic infused olive oil over the skin. Sprinkle some za’atar on your hands and rub it under the skin and inside the cavity.

Stuff the breast cavity with half a lemon and as many onions as will fit. Reserve the rest of the onions to serve with the roasted chicken. I can tell you from experience that if you over-stuff the chicken, the onions will fall out and burn!

Turn the chicken on its breast and salt and oil the back side. Roast the chicken breast down for an hour or until it is brown. Serve with the roasted and reserved sautéed onions.

Roast Chicken

The fresh herbs and lemon give the chicken a wonderful flavor and keep it moist. Baking it breast side down allows the juices to moisten the breast meat. I do the same for turkey.

Ingredients

1 chicken. If you can afford it, Rocky or Mary’s air dried are the best

Salt and pepper

3 Tb olive oil (EVOO is best)

Garlic infused olive oil

fresh herbs: 3 sprigs rosemary, 5 sprigs thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme

5 medium or 4 large garlic cloves thinly sliced

1 lemon split in half

Directions:

Remove giblets from cavity flaps. Rinse and dry chicken (inside and out) with paper towels.

Place chicken on a large plate. Salt inside and out.Return to the refrigerator for an hour.

Preheat oven to 430′ Oil roasting pan and place chicken in, breast side up.

Stuff breast cavity with ground pepper and lemon halves

Mix garlic, rosemary and thyme in 3 Tb olive oil. Tuck it under the breast skin and under thigh skin. Smear garlic oil on top with your fingers, sprinkle with salt and pepper.

breast side down

Close flaps of skin over cavities, and flip chicken breast down. Oil and season the back as you did the breast.

Roast at 430′ degrees for an hour and 20 minutes, (more or less depending on the size of the chicken.)

You can bake a whole eggplant, potatoes, yams and/or a butternut squash alongside the chicken. Place them on foil to avoid getting their juices onto the roasting pan (especially the yams!)

Our favorite is roasted chicken with yams:

chicken wing and yam