From ‘Sirocco’ – Sabrina Ghayour’s second book of mouthwatering middle-eastern recipes. This makes a nice change from the standard herb and lemon chicken I do most Sundays.
Serves 6+ depending on appetites and size of bird ǀ approx 2hrs cooking
- One free-range chicken, about 2.5kg or so (calculate cooking time at about 45mins per kilo, plus an extra 15-20 mins)
- 3-4 tbsp olive oil
- 2 heaped tbsp za’atar
- grated zest of 2 lemons (unwaxed)
- grated zest 2 large oranges
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp sea salt flakes
- freshly ground black pepper
You will also need: one heavy based rectangular roasting tin
- Line your roasting tin with baking paper or foil and if foil, leave enough to be able to fold it over the top after an hour or so.
- Preheat your oven to 220c/Gas mark 7 and place the chicken in the roasting tin.
- Make up a paste by mixing the oil with the citrus zests and all the other spices and seasonings.
- Use a silicone pastry brush if you have one to work the paste all over the chicken and into all the joints, ensuring it’s well covered.
- Place the chicken, uncovered at first, into the pre-heated oven and roast for 30 mins, before reducing the temperature to 190c for the remaining cooking time (my bird was just under 3kg and I cooked it for a total of 2hrs, 25 mins).
- You may find you need to cover the bird with foil after an hour or so, as the spice paste can get quite smoky in the oven. This will do it no harm, but if you want to crisp up the chicken skin, remove the foil again for the last 15 mins and put the oven temperature back up to 220c.
- Once cooked, remove the chicken from the oven and allow to rest for 10 mins or so before serving.