Lemon and sumac roast chicken

A twist on the classic weekend roast.

One of the best things to do on a weekend is a big cook-up to prepare for the week ahead. A roast chicken is perfect as you should have enough to enjoy at the time, and then you can make other meals with the leftovers. I like to make salads, curry, soups and especially save the bones for stock! You can find a great basic stock recipe here. I keep the bones from everyone’s plates with the carcass and put them in the freezer to make stock the following weekend.

This recipe speaks to my English heritage — I grew up with a weekly weekend roast. And it’s something I still crave to this day. This recipe is a nice fresh twist, it feels middle eastern, while still satisfying the craving for a good old traditional roast. You can get sumac from most grocery stores or health food shops these days. If you can’t find any, try substituting with smoked paprika and you will get a Spanish style dish.

How do you get a good chicken? You might need to do some research, some free range chickens are not really that free. Double check how they are grown. Do they only get outside for an hour a day? Do they get pumped full of steroids and antibiotics? Pastured chickens are generally better as they are fully free range and forage for bugs in the grasses. A happy healthy chicken makes a happier healthier you. ( If you can get an organic pastured chicken great!). These chickens may not look as large and plump as some of the cheaper factory farmed chickens, but they will taste amazing and be better for you.

Lemon and sumac roast chicken

  • Prep time: 15 mins to overnight (depending on how much time you have to marinate)
  • Cook time: approx 90 mins
  • Total time: 1 hour 45 mins
  • Serves: 4 or more depending on the size of the chicken.
  • Gluten free
  • Dairy free
  • Low refined sugar
  • Healthy fats


  • A pastured chicken 1.2 – 1.8 kg.
  • 1 lemon
  • 6 Tbsp Sumac
  • 5 Tbsp Oregano fresh or dried
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 5 Tbsp Duck Fat
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt


  1. If you have time follow steps 4 to 8 and then let the chicken marinate
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius (Fahrenheit conversion here)
  3. Get a large roasting pan and drop in 4 tablespoons duck fat.
  4. Pat your chicken dry with a paper towel, and make sure there is nothing in the cavity
  5. Wash the lemon and cut in half. Put 2 cloves of garlic inside the chicken cavity, follow with one half of the lemon, a few sprigs of oregano (or a tbsp dried) the other 2 cloves of garlic and the other half of the lemon.
  6. In a cup or small bowl mix the remaining oregano, sumac and salt.
  7. Rub 1 tablespoon of duck fat into the chicken skin
  8. Rub the sumac mixture over the chicken and pop it in the pan. (Yes its messy, get your hands dirty and rub it in!)
  9. At this point marinate the chicken for as long as you can. Pop back in the fridge and leave it for 2 hours to over night if you have time. If you marinated the chicken in the fridge,  allow it to come up to room temperature for half an hour before putting in the oven.
  10. Put the pan with the chicken in it into the pre-heated oven. Turn the temperature down to 180 degrees Celsius
  11. Cook the chicken for 20 minutes per 500 grams plus 30 minutes. (e.g. for a 1.5 kg chicken it would be 1 hour 30 minutes)
  12. Pull the chicken out of the oven and skewer it with a fork in the largest part of the breast and leg. The juice should run clear. If not put it back in for a few more minutes until you get clear juices.
  13. Cover with a sheet of foil to let the meat rest for 15 minutes while you finish the vegetables to serve with it.
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