Over the standard roast chicken with veg you’ve been wearing out each Sunday for years? This is the recipe for you! The Chermula spice blend adds the most beautiful aromatic, smokey flavour when roasted and creates a wonderfully crispy, flavourful skin. By placing the garlic, lemon and thyme inside the cavity, it not only permeates the chicken with flavour and aroma, but the moisture inside them steams the chicken from within making it super succulent and juicy! Plus, the lemon and soft garlic make the perfect finishing touch to the chicken when serving.
The caramelised onions add the perfect amount of sweetness with the added zing of Sumac that gives the perfect lemony flavour. By cooking them low and slow, it makes an instant chutney that also soaks up all the pan juices from roasting.
I serve this usually with some roasted potatoes, a salad or atop some hummus.
Spices used in this recipe
North African Chermula – Mild
North African Chermula is an aromatic blend of spices from North Africa, particularly used in Moroccan, Algerian and Tunisian cuisines. This delicious blend can be used as a dry rub or can be mixed with lemon juice, yoghurt and olive oil to make a wet marinade or be used as a dip. Toasting the spices before adding to dishes can be a great way to release their natural oils thus creating a more intense and caramelised flavour. Chermula is a delicate and zesty blend of sweet paprika, pepper, cumin, coriander, parsley, garlic, turmeric, sea salt and cayenne pepper. North African spice mixes tend to be less about the heat content and more about creating a depth of flavour.$3.45
Sumac crushed is obtained from the dried berries from a bush that grows in the Middle East and southern Italy, and it is essential for the Middle-Eastern cuisine specially Persian, Lebanese, and Turkish. In Middle Eastern cooking sumac is used as a souring agent instead of lemon or vinegar. Sumac is delicious on roast meat & in particular lamb, when mixed with paprika, pepper & oregano. It has a tangy, lemony and fruity sour flavour and a fruity aroma that was once used as the tart, acid element by Romans. It can be used as a substitute of lemon in any dish on which you might squeeze fresh lemon juice. Also, its deep red-dark purple colour make it very attractive garnish.
Remove the chicken from the fridge 30-40 minutes before cooking to allow it to come to room temperature (this ensures an even cook throughout and keeps the meat tender). Preheat the oven to 240 degrees celsius. Remove the chicken from its packaging and pat dry.
Cut the lemon and the garlic bowl in half down the middle and place in the cavity of the chicken along with the thyme bunch. In a small bowl, combine the Chermula blend, 2/3 of the olive oil and a generous pinch of salt to make a paste. Place the chicken in the roasting tray and rub the spice paste well into the chicken.
Place the chicken in the oven and immediately turn the oven down to 200 degrees and cook for 1 hour 20 minutes. Once cooked, remove from the oven and allow to rest for at least 15 minutes.
While the chicken rests, take the tray it roasted in with the juices in there and place on a low heat with the remaining olive oil. Add the onions with a generous pinch of salt and cook on a low heat until they become super soft – about 8-10 minutes. When they’re at their softest, add the butter and sumac in and stir in.
Carve the chicken and serve with the jammy onions as well as a squeeze of the lemon that’s inside and the garlic pulp. Serve with your favourite veg side dishes and enjoy!