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Chicken with lemons, sumac & spiced yogurt

Chicken with lemons, sumac & spiced yogurt

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  • Preparation and cooking time
    • Prep:
    • Cook:
  • Easy
  • Serves 4

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

Nutrition: per serving
low insalt0.66g


  • 1 large free-range chicken (about 1.5kg/3lb 5oz in size)
  • 3 lemons , cut into eights
  • handful black, pitted olives
  • 3 small shallots , peeled and left whole
  • 6 garlic cloves , peeled and squashed
  • 2 tbsp sumac (see Know-how, below)
  • 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


  • STEP 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.

  • STEP 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.

  • STEP 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.


Sumac is a powdered spice from the Middle East. Its sour, lemony flavour works well with chicken and lamb as well as rice and pulses. Find it at specialist food shops or order online from If you can’t find any, then finely grated lemon zest can be added, but you won’t get the same ‘bronzed’ colour on the chicken’s skin.

Recipe from Good Food magazine, June 2011

Goes well with


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A star rating of 4.8 out of 5.11 ratings

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