Chicken with lemons, sumac & spiced yogurt

Chicken with lemons, sumac & spiced yogurt

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(9 ratings)

Prep: 10 mins Cook: 1 hr, 30 mins


Serves 4
Love roast chicken but want to give it a summer twist? John Torode, MasterChef judge and chef shows you how

Nutrition and extra info

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal537
  • fat30g
  • saturates10g
  • carbs12g
  • sugars11g
  • fibre1g
  • protein56g
  • salt0.66g
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  • 1 large free-range chicken (about 1½ kg/3lb 5oz in size)



    While it's the traditional Christmas bird, turkey is good to eat all year round, though…

  • 3 lemons, cut into eights



    Oval in shape with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile…

  • handful black, pitted olives
    Bowl of olives



    Widely grown all over the Mediterranean, where they've been cultivated since biblical times…

  • 3 small shallots, peeled and left whole



    Related to the onion (as opposed to being a younger version of it), shallots grow in clusters at…

  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled and squashed
  • 2 tbsp sumac (see Know-how, below)



    This wine-coloured ground spice is one of the most useful but least known and most…

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil

For the spiced yoghurt

  • 1 tsp each ground coriander and cumin
  • ½ tsp each ground turmeric and mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp chilli powder, mild or hot, depending on taste
  • 500g pot natural yogurt
  • 1 long red chilli, thinly sliced
  • bunch spring onions, sliced
    Spring onions

    Spring onion

    sp-ring un-yun

    Also known as scallions or green onions, spring onions are in fact very young onions, harvested…


  1. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Two things happen to the chicken. First, season the inside. In a bowl mix the lemons, olives, shallots and garlic with half the sumac and some salt. Scrunch them all together and add 1 tbsp of water. Open the bird up and pour the mix into the cavity.

  2. Then the outside. Take the oil and the rest of the sumac and rub onto the chicken, massaging it into every part possible. Roast for 11⁄2 hrs or until cooked through and the juices run clear when a skewer is inserted into the thickest part of the leg.

  3. While the chicken is cooking, mix all the ingredients for the spiced yogurt with some salt – if you like it a little milder, deseed the chilli before slicing it. Carve the chicken and serve topped with a dollop of the yogurt.

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Comments, questions and tips

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30th Mar, 2014
PS I served the olives with it and they were to die for!
30th Mar, 2014
I used a boned, stuffed chicken (ordinary breadcrumb and herb stuffing) and it was really delicious! Spiced yogurt is the making of it definitely, but the sumac rub gives the bird a real flavour. Will make again soon.
30th Jun, 2011
I have used sumac before with chicken breast cooked in the oven with lots of olives and onions (a middle eastern recipe). This is the first time I use sumac with a whole chicken and what an amazing treat it turned out to be! Brilliant idea for a sunday lunch with friends or family.
19th Jun, 2011
Really great recipe - chicken was very tasty. The gravy that came off didn't need any seasoning. Served with these potatoes:
31st May, 2011
I made this last week for a roast with a lighter touch and my family loved it. The dressing really makes it. I served it with the smashed rosemary potatoes and green beans with shallots and almonds suggested in the magazine (plus sweetcorn as an extra veg). There wasn't a scrap left and I'll be serving it to friends next week.
29th May, 2011
I made this for dinner tonight and it was delicious! I poured the fat away after taking the chicken out and deglazed the roasting tray with some boiling water - made a lovely jus to drizzle over the chicken. I served it with roasted vegetables (courgettes, aubergines, sweet potatoes and mixed peppers) and the yoghurt sauce went beautifully with everything. Will definitely be making again.
29th May, 2011
lovely summery sunday luch, the dressing gives a lovely kick
poisonivy73's picture
22nd May, 2011
No rating as I haven't tried this yet, but FYI, sumac seems to be commonly stocked in ethnic shops and bigger corner shops, particularly those that are Turkish or Middle Eastern. I picked mine up in the local Costcutter. It's great sprinkled on grilled veggies as well as meat. I will definitely be trying this recipe purely because it calls for sumac.
22nd May, 2011
I couldn't find sumac in Tesco but used the zest of two lemons instead - which worked pretty well. My housemates seemed to enjoy it! The spiced yoghurt was particularly tasty.
22nd May, 2011
I found Sumac in the foreign food asile in Asda!
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