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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Mediterranean Roast Chicken

Wednesday, April 14, 2010 By 1 comment

Augusta, Ga. - So I developed this recipe for our family. I hope you like it. Total prep time: About 10 minutes, if you don't count the brining process. And since it's a passive process, I really don't. Cooking time: 45-60 minutes.


  • One whole chicken, fresh or completely thawed
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • two-three lemons
  • 1/4 cup Zahtar spice mix (available locally at Aladdin's Grocery on Columbia Rd)
  • powdered garlic
  • black pepper
  • sea salt
  • onion
  • potatoes
  • carrots

Preparation and Cooking

1. Trim the chicken if needed, and remove the little package of gross that they include with it, in case someone is literally starving and has some weird intention of eating the gizzard, which is the part of the chicken that digests things. Rinse the chicken well, and then place into a large pot and cover it with water. Shake about a 1/4-1/3 cup of sea salt into the water. Cover, and place in the refrigerator overnight.

Note: This would also work with a chicken that has been cut up already, or a package of leg quarters, but the flavoring process will be a tiny bit more difficult as you'll have to work with each piece of chicken. Also, whole chickens are cheaper.

2. When you're ready to get dinner started, drain the pot, remove the chicken, and pat dry. Start the oven, to temp out at 350. Then, gently, but firmly, slide your hands between the skin and the meat, all the way down into the legs, in order to create room for the spice mixture to set into the meat.  

Note: Rubbing spices or flavoring into the skin of poultry before baking doesn't flavor anything but the skin.

3. Stir together about a 1/4 cup of olive oil with almost as much Zahtar. It's a mild, thyme-and-seseme based mixture. Add about a 1/2 tsp of powdered garlic and a liberal dose of sea salt and black pepper. You should have a runny, pastey kind of mixture. If it freaks you out, add a little more olive oil.

Note: You can use butter for this, too, but it's not as authentic and gives it a completely different flavor. Still... butter. Yum.

4. Rub the olive oil mixture under the skin of the bird, massaging into the meat - and, again, getting down into the legs, too. If you have any remaining mixture, reserve it for the veggies. You should be taking the skin off your chicken for healthier eating.

Note: This is totally gross the first time you do it. But I don't care what anyone says: basting is a waste of time. Baste not, waste not! This is how you get the most flavorful roast poultry.

5. Quarter the onion and place inside the chicken's body cavity. Chop the potatoes and carrots into slightly-larger-than-bite-sized pieces. Arrange the chicken in a roasting pan, on top of the rack, and dump the carrots and potatoes in around it. Pour the remaining Zahtar over the veggies, or just drizzle them with olive oil, sea salt (or seasoning salt), and black pepper. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil, turn veggies, do not replace foil, and continue baking until juice runs clear when thighs and drumsticks are pricked with a fork or knife.

6. Remove from oven. Let sit for 10 minutes so that juices will distribute. Remove veggies from pan, and add to a serving platter. Carve chicken, remove skin from pieces, and douse liberally with fresh-squeezed lemon juice.

Note: You can mix the lemon juice in with the olive oil mixture before rubbing it into the chicken, but I don't think you get the full flavor. I like waiting until after the chicken is on the serving platter to add the lemon.

7. Serve and enjoy! Try pairing it with a microwavable whole-grain side dish, like Kashi's 7 whole-grain rice pilaf, flavored with Moroccan curry. It's easy, healthy, and goes well with these flavors!


  1. This looks simple but good, and the writing is funny as usual. Good one!