For this cosy and simple roast chicken recipe, I've coated a whole chicken in a sumac and butter rub which imparts a tart and lemony brightness into the chicken. Next, I add potatoes to the roasting pan halfway through. You can take the whole dish straight to the dining table and carve there, which makes for a no-fuss help yourself kind of dinner. Serve the chicken and potatoes with a lemony yoghurt dressing to cut through the sumac and as a nod to middle eastern cooking where yoghurt is so often present. Enjoy! —Vanessa Gordon
1 hour 45 minutes
for the chicken and potatoes
unsalted butter, at room temperature
baby red potatoes
for the yoghurt dressing
cloves roasted garlic
squeeze of lemon juice
salt and pepper
In This Recipe
Preheat oven to 200 C / 180 C fan-forced.
Take the chicken out of the refrigerator and leave to come to room temperature for one hour. Pat chicken dry with a paper towel. Stuff the cavity with a whole lemon and a handful of thyme sprigs. Tie the chicken drumsticks together with oven-proof kitchen string to keep the lemon in place.
Combine butter and sumac in a small mixing bowl to form a paste, using a pastry brush, brush all over the chicken. Reserve some of the butter for later.
In a large roasting pan place discs of onion to create a bed for the chicken to lay on. Turn oven temperature down to 180C / 160 C fan-forced and roast for 25 minutes, breast side down.
After 25 minutes, take the chicken out, flip it over so it is breast side up, brush remaining sumac butter over the top. Return to the oven.
After another 25 minutes, baste the chicken in the pan juices and add potatoes, 1 lemon halved and garlic bulb to the pan. Cook for a further 30 - 40 minutes until the chicken and potatoes are cooked (time will vary depending on the weight of the chicken). Rest the chicken for 10-15 minutes wrapped in foil before slicing.
Make the yoghurt dressing by combining natural yoghurt, roasted garlic squeezed out from its skins, a squeeze of juice from the roasted lemon, salt and pepper, and a sprinkle of sumac.
Serve chicken, potatoes and yoghurt dressing with a warm couscous or rice salad.