The humble roast chicken is probably my favourite dish to cook and eat. Growing up in my house we would have a roast lunch on Sundays and if I was ever asked what roast I would like, I always requested a roast chicken. I loved the crispy skin and juicy tender meat of the drumstick, with lashings of gravy and crunchy roast potatoes to mop it all up. Delicious!
I have always stayed in the realms of traditional in making my roast chickens, stuffing them with a lemon and herbs and roasting in an oven tray surrounded by vegetables and potatoes. Recently I have been getting more adventurous and after having some za’atar, a Middle Eastern spice blend of thyme, oregano, majoram mixed with sesame seeds and sea salt, with bread and oil I thought it would work really well on a roast chicken. It did! The spice provides a wonderful fragrance to the chicken as it is cooking and an even better flavour. I roasted the chicken with some chicken stock and wine which helped to produce a wonderfully moist bird.
I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.
Za’atar Roast Chicken
1 whole chicken (I used a size 14)
3 tablespoons Za’atar spice mix
3 tablespoons garlic oil
1 onion, sliced into thick pieces
1 lemon, halved
handful of thyme
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup of white wine
salt and pepper
1. Preheat oven to 180c.
2. Place onion slices into the bottom of a flameproof casserole pot or dutch oven. Mix za’atar and garlic oil to make a paste.
3. Season chicken with salt and pepper and rub za’atar past all over and under the skin. Place lemon halves and thyme into cavity. Place chicken in pot, pour over chicken stock and cover.
4. Roast for 1 hour.
5. Remove from oven and pour over wine.
6. Roast for another 30-40 minutes, uncovered, basting with pan juices to brown skin.
7. When golden brown and juices run clear, remove from oven
8. Serve with a gravy made from juices, rice or potatoes and a green salad.