Ethiopian Chicken Recipe by Yohanis Gebreyesus

Ethiopian nigella-glazed roast chicken

  • serves 4-6
  • Easy

This modern take on roast chicken highlights one of Ethiopia’s signature spices, nigella. When used as the dominant seasoning, nigella’s nutty, earthy notes take centre stage and combine sublimely with sesame seeds

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This Ethiopian roast chicken recipe comes from Ethiopia by Yohanis Gebreyesus (£30, Kyle Books). Yohanis says: “This modern take on roast chicken highlights one of Ethiopia’s signature spices, nigella. Cooks often use ground nigella seeds in stews that also contain the berbere spice blend. However, when used as the dominant seasoning, nigella’s nutty, earthy notes take centre stage and combine sublimely with black and white sesame seeds.”

Find out more about Ethiopian food in Yohanis’s guide.

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Ingredients

  • whole chicken 1.4-1.8kg
  • sea salt flakes 1 tsp
  • black peppercorns crushed to make 1 tsp
  • thyme a small handful
  • flat-leaf parsley a small handful
  • oregano a small handful
  • sunflower oil 2 tbsp, plus more for the tin
  • nigella seeds 1 tbsp, roughly ground
  • red onion 1 medium, halved
  • carrots 2 medium, peeled and cut in half lengthways and crossways
  • small waxy potatoes 1 kg
  • chicken stock 500ml
  • butter 1 tbsp
  • mixed black and white sesame seeds 2 tbsp

Method

  • Step 1

    Heat the oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7. Season the inside of the chicken with 1 /2 of the salt and pepper, stuff with the herbs and truss the chicken by tying the legs together with kitchen twine. Rub the skin with 1 tbsp of the oil, the nigella and the remaining salt and pepper.

  • Step 2

    Oil a large, non-stick roasting tin. Put in the chicken breast-side down and roast for 15 minutes, just enough to brown the skin lightly. Reduce the oven temperature to 200C/ fan 180C/gas 6. In a bowl, toss the onion, carrot and potatoes with the remaining tbsp of oil. In a pan, bring the chicken stock to a simmer, cover and keep hot.

  • Step 3

    Turn the chicken breast-side up. Arrange the onion, carrot and potato around the chicken, pour the stock over the vegetables and cover the whole tin with foil. Roast for 45 minutes1 hour or until the chicken juices run clear and a meat thermometer poked into the thickest part of the thigh reads 75C.

  • Step 4

    Carefully transfer the chicken to a plate and pour all the juices from the roasting tin into an ovenproof frying pan but keep the veg in the tin. Cut away the twine from the bird and remove and discard the herbs. If the vegetables are cooked, simply cover to keep warm. If they are not yet tender, re-cover the tin with foil and return to the oven to finish cooking.

  • Step 5

    Heat the grill to medium high. Put the frying pan with the chicken juices over a medium heat and add the butter. Once it melts, set the chicken in the pan breast-side up and baste until glossy with the pan juices, then sprinkle the sesame seeds all over the top.

  • Step 6

    Put the chicken under the grill for 5 minutes or until the seeds are lightly toasted.

  • Step 7

    Let the chicken rest for 15 minutes before carving. Pour the sauce from the pan into a bowl. Serve the chicken with the vegetables and the sauce on the side.

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