The first of many pleasures

chickenThe first of many pleasures this succulent spice roasted chicken offers is a house filled with the aromatic aromas from the spice trail. Cinnamon, cumin and sweet paprika mixed with the essences of lemon and dates will make your mouth water long before it’s time to take the first bite. This is a complete meal in one tray and perfect for a casual dinner with good friends.

With dry roasting, you do not have to worry about your oven being splattered with grease or the smoke alarm going off. Dry roasting takes a bit longer than other recipes to cook, but once you put it in the oven, there is no basting and your work is done!

Succulent, spiced chicken

This succulent, spiced and roasted chicken offers a house full of aromas from the spice trail before you even take a bite.

One whole (4 to 5 pounds) chicken
Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 to 3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 smallish lemon
5 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for the baking sheet
2 small (about 3/4 pounds total) orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, unpeeled (small new potatoes make a good substitute)
1 pound cauliflower or broccoli (if you are looking for more greens in your life), cut into 1-inch florets
1 red onion, cut into 8 wedges
1 green apple, cored and cut into 8 wedges
8 cloves garlic, in skin
3 dates, cut in quarters

1. Preheat the oven to 450°F (232°C). Grease a heavy large rimmed baking sheet–preferably not a roasting pan, but if you do use a roasting pan, make it a big one–with a little oil.

2. Pull out and discard the fat and giblets from the cavity of the chicken. Pat the chicken very dry with paper towels. Starting at the edge of the main cavity, slide a finger under the skin over each breast half, making a pocket between the skin and meat. Rub a total of 1 tablespoon of salt over the chicken skin and toss a little salt inside the cavity. Sprinkle the chicken generously with black pepper.

3. In a small bowl, mix the paprika, cumin, pepper flakes, and cinnamon. Set aside 2 1/2 teaspoons of the spice mixture for the vegetables. The rest is for the chicken. Finely grate the zest from the lemon, cut the lemon into quarters, and mix the zest into the spices for the chicken. Gradually mix in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil to make a paste. Spread a little of the paste inside the cavity, slather some of it under the skin over the chicken breasts, and rub the rest of the paste all over the outside of the chicken. Toss the lemon quarters inside the cavity. Place the chicken in the center of the baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes. Keep an eye on it and if it browns too quickly, cover it loosely with a sheet of foil.

4. Meanwhile, cut the sweet potatoes in half crosswise, and then quarter each half lengthwise to create wedges. Combine the sweet potatoes, cauliflower and/or broccoli, apple, dates, garlic and onion in a bowl. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil and toss to coat. Add the reserved spice mixture, sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper, and toss to coat.

5. After the chicken has roasted for 30 minutes, remove it from the oven. Spoon the vegetables around it. Return the pan to the oven and continue roasting until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a thigh registers 165°F (74°C), then cook about 40 minutes longer, depending on the size of the bird. (If the skin is getting too dark before the meat is done, reduce the oven temperature to 425°F (218°C).

6. Transfer the chicken to a platter and let rest for 10 minutes. Carve the chicken and serve with the vegetables.

Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Serves 4

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About the Author

Chakula Chick
Teacher extraordinaire by day, creator of good food by night. Join me as I cook my way through Tanzania with (mostly) local ingredients!