Pucker-Up Lemon Sumac Chicken with Lemon Herb Board Sauce

By • August 11, 2015 36 Comments

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Author Notes: This chicken uses several Middle Eastern spices as well as fresh lemons. It's tangy, spicy, and sweet, and has become a favorite. I received a selection of spices as a gift last year, and have had fun making my own spice blends ever since! Leith Devine

Food52 Review: WHO: Leith Devine is a avid cook and traveler whose Bánh Mì Soft Tacos won our Mash-Ups Contest earlier this summer.
WHAT: Tangy sumac, spicy ras el hanout, and a bright board sauce make chicken sing.
HOW: Rub a spatchcocked chicken with a Middle Eastern-inspired spice rub and roast it on a bed of sliced lemons, garlic, and onions—then turn those aromatics into a flavorful, herb-packed sauce.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Leith Devine's spice mix makes for a truly delicious (spicy, lemony, herby) chicken (and oiling the skin before putting the spice mix on would make the skin even crispier). But the best part of her Pucker Up chicken might be the roasted lemons and garlic with fresh mint and parsley in the board sauce. You really want to eat a mouthful of it with every piece of chicken!
The Editors

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Serves 6-8

  • 1 whole chicken, spatchcocked
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 lemons, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons sumac
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ras el hanout (more if you like it spicy)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
  • 3-4 tablespoons cooked chicken juices
  • 2 garlic cloves from the roasting pan, chopped
  • 4 slices cooked lemons from the roasting pan
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 handful fresh mint, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  1. Chicken: Have the butcher spatchcock the whole chicken, or do it yourself by cutting out the backbone, then flattening the chicken until you hear the breastbone pop. A whole chicken cooks much faster this way!
  2. Combine salt, oregano, turmeric, sumac, paprika, ras el hanout, black pepper and fresh thyme.
  3. Rub spice blend into chicken thoroughly, including under the skin.
  4. In a large baking dish, place the smashed garlic cloves, sliced onions, and the sliced lemons on the bottom. Place the chicken on top of the lemons.
  5. Bake at 350° F for approximately 1 hour, or until the internal temperature reaches 160-165° F. Check at the 20 minute mark and tent with foil if the skin is already browned.
  6. When the chicken is done, remove from the oven to rest and make the board sauce. Board sauce is made on a cutting board with the juices from cooking and other ingredients. The juices from the cooked chicken or meat combine with the other ingredients to make a fantastic sauce.
  7. Board sauce: On a cutting board with channels (less messy), chop the cooked lemons and garlic from the chicken dish. Mix with the parsley and mint. Remove 3 to 4 tablespoons of juices from the bottom of the cooked chicken dish and combine them with the honey. Add salt and pepper to taste, then add to the lemon-herb mixture, and place the chicken on top to complete resting.
  8. After 15 minutes of resting, carve chicken and serve with the board sauce.

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Topics: Chicken, Middle-Eastern Cooking