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A heady Levantine mix of spices is just the thing to infuse your roast with warmth – and flavour when they are slathered generously over an organic chook.
Heat your oven to 190c/Fan 170c/Gas 5. Take the chicken out of the fridge, unwrap it and remove the giblets. Pop the chicken in a roasting tin. Let it come to room temperature (around 30 mins should do).
While the chicken is warming up, make the shawarma spice rub. Pop the cardamom pods in a pestle and mortar and crush them to open them up. Shake out the black seeds and discard the papery husks. Grind the seeds as finely as you can. No pestle and mortar? Use a small bowl and a jam jar or the end of a rolling pin instead.
Add 2 tsp each ground coriander, cumin and smoked paprika to the ground cardamom seeds. Add a pinch of cayenne – it’s spicy, so use as much or as little as you prefer. Peel and grate in the garlic cloves. Grate in the lemon zest and squeeze in the juice from half the lemon. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and 1 tbsp oil. Stir together to make a thick spice paste.
Spread the spice paste all over the chicken to coat it. You can tie the legs together with kitchen string to keep them neat, or just leave them as they are. Loosely cover the chicken with a large sheet of foil, scrunching it onto the sides of the tin. Slide into the oven and roast the chicken for 1 hr. Remove the foil and return the chicken to the oven for another 20 mins.
Take the chicken out of the oven and check whether it’s done by inserting a skewer into the thick part of a thigh. If the juices run clear, it’s ready. If not, slide back into the oven for another 5-15 mins.
When the chicken is cooked, take it out of the oven and rest it on a warm plate or board, loosely covered with foil, for 20 mins before carving.