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Za’tar chicken with whole lemons and capers

Alison Roman cooks and eats whole lemons so I now cook and eat whole lemons...

I’ve gone and really packed the lemon into this chicken dish. It's a star ingredient, not a back-up dancer. Leaving the rind on means it gets bitter, sticky and caramelised which is pretty great against the sweet red onion and briny capers.

The fundamentals of this recipe is a variation of a recipe from the book Falestin. I’ve made it numerous times as it’s pretty low effort, great for sharing, looks gorgeous and has the kind of flavours that can really be pared with anything. All it needs is a good fresh herb such as parsley or tarragon to finish.

Make enough so you have it for leftovers during the week, just warm it through with a drizzle of water and olive oil to keep it moist.

(I got a whole chicken and butchered it, but you could have it with chicken thighs/ legs. Just make sure they have the skin and bones.



(Skinless and boneless chicken is frankly no fun)

  • 1 whole chicken - butchered or a combo of around 5 chicken thighs/ legs

  • 2-3 lemons (2 sliced with rind on) and 1 zested and then juiced2 heaped tbl za’tar

  • 1 heaped tbl sumac

  • 90ml olive oil

  • 3 tsp all spice

  • 2 cups of chicken stock

  • 4 cloves of garlic halved

  • 2-3 red onions - quartered if large, halved if small

  • 2 tbl heaped tbl capers (black olives would also work)

  • Handful of sultanas



  1. Marinade all the ingredients for at least 3 hours in a couple of large bowls - leave to marinade overnight for the best flavour.

  2. Pour everything onto a really large baking tray you want to ensure there is a bit of room surrounding the chicken so it gets all the caramelised, crunchy bits - this might mean you need two trays

  3. Bake this in a mid-hot oven for around 40 mins, I would take a look at 35 mins, and then depending on the size of your chicken whack the heat up a bit, drizzle with some of the juices and and leave for another 5 mins to crisp up the skin.

  4. Leave to rest in the juice and then top with the fresh herbs!

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