Chicken with Crushed Almonds, Smoked Paprika and Lemon

, from Issue #38. September, 2015
Photography by Aaron McLean.
Chicken with Crushed Almonds, Smoked Paprika and Lemon

Chicken loves gutsy flavours and by putting the aromatic almond paste under the skin and topping it with slices of fresh lemon you get gorgeous, tender juicy meat. 


Serves: 4–6


5 chicken marylands (thigh and drumstick), skin on

Almond paste
½ cup whole, skin-on almonds, roasted
80 grams cream cheese at room temperature
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
finely grated zest 1 lemon
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons rosewater or orange flower water
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

To cook
olive oil
1-2 lemons sliced then halved
extra sweet smoked paprika


Preheat the oven to 180˚C.

Almond paste: Put the almonds in a mortar and crush coarsely or place on a board and chop coarsely. Put all the ingredients except the almonds in a food processor and process until well combined. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the almonds. The mixture should be chunky.

Using your fingers, gently ease the skin away from the flesh of the thigh and drumstick, taking care not to tear the skin.Spread the paste over the flesh and pull the skin back over the top.

Brush the skin with olive oil and season. Lay 3 pieces of lemon over the skin and brush with olive oil. Sprinkle with smoked paprika and place skin side up on a lined roasting dish.

Roast for 35-40 minutes, basting occasionally, until golden and fully cooked through. The chicken is cooked when the juices from the thigh run clear when pierced with a skewer.

Rest the chicken, loosely covered, for 5 minutes. Cut each piece in half through the thigh and drumstick and serve with the couscous