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Middle Eastern chicken with dates and caramelised lemons

This recipe is Alison Roman's, if you haven't heard of her she is like the coolest-new york Nigella who makes the kinda food you just want to eat.

It is simple and completely delicious. The sweet onion and dates contrast wonderfully against the sour lemons and soak in all the flavour of the chicken fat! As it all cooks together in one pot it creates the most wonderful gravy, juiciest meat, and warming one-post dish.

I served with fresh mint, nutty bulgar wheat and peas with feta!


Serves 5-6


  • 4-5 large chicken thighs or legs

  • 1 whole lemon, sliced with the pips removed

  • 3 small or 2 big red onions sliced

  • 5-8 Medjool dates

  • 1 handful of fresh oregano or thyme

  • Maldon salt/ ground black pepper

  • 2tsp dried chilli flakes


  • Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4/ 350°F

  • Prep your onions and lemons but cutting into thinnish slices. Mix them together in a bowl with salt - the lemon will start to pickle the onions and turn them pink! Set bowl aside

  • Prep your chicken by drying off the skin with a paper towel and then seasoning with plenty of salt and pepper all over

  • Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a large casserole dish over medium-high heat.

  • Put the chicken down skin -side into the hot pan and press the skin down into the pan

  • Leave the chicken like this for around 7 mins without touching the chicken

  • Remove from the pan, the chicken skin should be nice and golden and the pan should have a nice amount of chicken fat to cook your onions and lemons in

  • Add the lemon and onion to the pan, and fry for a good 5 mins in the chicken fat.

  • Rip up your dates into halves and remove the stones

  • Add the dates with the herbs and chill flakes and cook for another 1 minute

  • Place your chicken back in the pot and pour in around 250ml of water.

  • Roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes ensuring the chicken is covered with foil or a lid

  • Remove the lid after this time, then drizzle the chicken with olive oil and continue to cook for another 20minutes (this will depend on the size of your chicken)

  • Remove from the oven and let it rest in the pan for 10 minutes

  • Carve up your chicken, sprinkle with more herbs and chilli if you want and serve!

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