Aromatic Spice-roasted Chickens

From issue #106. November, 2022
Aromatic Spice-roasted Chickens

Impossibly fragrant and juicy chicken to grace your festive table.

Serves: 8-10


1 tablespoon coriander seeds
2 teaspoons each cumin and caraway seeds
1½ teaspoons black peppercorns
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon each brown sugar, ground turmeric and cinnamon

2 lemons, halved
sprigs thyme or rosemary
2 x 1.35-kilogram Rangitikei chickens
olive oil
sea salt

2 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 tablespoons chopped pistachios


Preheat the oven to 160°C fan bake.

SHAWARMA SPICE MIX: Put all the seeds and the peppercorns in a dry frying pan and toast over a medium heat for about 3 minutes, or until fragrant, stirring frequently. Tip into a spice grinder with the remaining ingredients and blitz until finely ground.

CHICKEN: Place the lemon halves and herbs in the chicken cavities and tie the legs together with kitchen string. Tuck the wings under the breast. Rub the chickens with olive oil and season with salt. Sprinkle the spice mix generously all over both chickens.

Place the chickens on a rack set over a baking dish and pour in enough water to cover the base of the dish. Don’t pour it over the chickens. Roast for 1 hour and 40 minutes, covering loosely with foil when the chickens are a gorgeous golden colour and adding more water to the dish if it looks dry. To test for doneness, check that when a skewer is inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, the juices run clear. Rest, loosely covered, for 10 minutes.

TO SERVE: Place the chickens on a serving platter and scatter over the combined parsley and pistachios. We served ours with our Pomegranate-roasted Eggplant with Mint and Almond Salsa. The recipe for this can be found at

Rangitikei Free Range is New Zealand’s premium brand of free-range chicken. All Rangitikei chicken is raised in New Zealand and we are proud to be SPCA-certified, supporting higher animal welfare. Choose Rangitikei Free Range to enjoy simply delicious, truly ethical chicken at home.

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