Marinated Roast Chicken

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Preparation info

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Appears in

Food of the Sun: A Fresh Look at Mediterranean Cooking

Food of the Sun

By Alastair Little and Richard Whittington

Published 1995

  • About

You can marinate and roast a whole chicken this way, or cook four leg and thigh joints. The marinade has affinities with a tandoori yogurt mixture and gives a similarly moist result. Serve with boiled new potatoes tossed in extra-virgin olive oil and chopped coriander leaves.


  • 1 free-range chicken, weighing about 1.35 kg/3 lb, or 4 leg and thigh joints

For the Marinade

  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 lemons
  • large handful of flat-leaf parsley
  • 4 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp ground fenugreek
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper



Prepare the marinade: peel and chop the garlic. Juice the lemons. Destalk and chop the parsley. Put with all the other marinade ingredients in a food processor and whizz to a paste. Spoon over the chicken. If cooking a whole bird, working from the neck end, carefully pull the skin up and away from the breast and spoon some of the marinade between it and the breast. Also put some in the cavity. Leave to marinate at room temperature for 4 hours.

Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/gas7.

If cooking a whole chicken, remove it from the marinade, reserving the marinade which has not adhered to the chicken. Place it breast down on a rack over a roasting tin and roast for 20 minutes.

Remove from the oven and turn breast side up. Spoon over some of the marinade, turn the oven down to 190°C/375°F/gas5 and roast for a further 40 minutes, spooning over more marinade from time to time. Leave to rest for 15 minutes before carving.

If cooking chicken joints, roast them on a tray starting skin side down for 10 minutes. Then turn skin side up, with the temperature at 200°C/400°F/gas 6, and cook for a further 25-30 minutes. Spoon over some marinade when you turn the joints. The finish will be very brown, but the flesh will be moist and tender.

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