Spice roasted chicken recipeSpice Roasted Chicken with Pumpkin and Pomegranate Molasses… *Contented sigh*. This Middle Eastern inspired recipe, from NZ’s delightful Dish magazine, is totally dinner party worthy and will knock the socks off your guests, or your family: Don’t feel you need to save it up!

The combination of the sweet/sour pomegranate dressing with crunch almonds, which is spooned over the chicken after cooked, makes it something oh-so-special. When I made this I doubled the recipe and we had it on salad the next night. I love leftovers…. A night off cooking = more time for blogging!

Serves 6

1 chicken (size 18)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons finely chopped rosemary
1 teaspoon each ground cumin and cinnamon
sea salt and freshly ground pepper (to taste)
1/2 medium buttercup pumpkin

3 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/4 c roasted skin-on almonds, roughly chopped
1/4 c fresh mint or flat-leaf parsley or coriander (I used basil as that was all that was on hand – it was fine!)

  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius.
  • Chicken:  Cut the chicken down both sides of the backbone then the breast bone, to give you two pieces, i.e. like you are going to spatchcock it, but  you continue and cut the backbone out entirely. Biff out the backbone.
  • Make the paste: In a medium size bowl, place all the other ingredients (except the pumpkin!), whisk together and season.
  • Place the chicken in a large roasting dish tray and brush all over with the paste and sprinkle with a little salt. Cut the pumpkin into 2cm thick wedges and scoop out the seeds. Brush with the olive oil, season and place around the chicken in the roasting dish.
  • Bake for 40 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked, basting occasionally with pan juices and turning the pumpkin once during cooking. Remove the chicken and set aside and cover with foil to rest for 15 minutes (the long resting time is necessary to make it delicious and juicy).
  • Put the pumpkin back on the oven, turn the oven onto fan bake and turn the temperature up to 200 degrees. Continue cooking the pumpkin until lightly golden (Note, I had to drain all the excess juice out of the pan prior to this stage, otherwise the pumpkin wouldn’t go golden).
  • Make the Dressing: Whisk the molasses, oil, lemon juice, cinnamon and garlic together and season with the salt and pepper.
  • To serve: Place the chicken and pumpkin on a large serving platter. Spoon the dressing over everything and scatter with the almonds and herbs.

Serve with couscous on the side. Below is my favourite couscous recipe and it would go beautifully with this dish.

  • Cook 1 cup of couscous as per the back of the packet.
  • Add: Small diced chunks of feta; Toasted pinenuts; Handful of each diced dried apricots and dried dates; 2 finely diced spring onions; Handful chopped herbs (mix of parsley and mint is good).
  • Fold all the added ingredients through couscous. Add the juice of half a lemon and a couple of teaspoons of good quality fruity olive oil. Stir again.  Voila!