Syrian roast chicken & potatoes
As part of MENA Cooking Club we were given Syrian dishes to try. This chicken & potato dish was the easiest by far and who doesn’t love a roast? it’s not like any ordinary roast chicken, it’s full of strong yet complimentary flavours of garlic, hot pepper, lemon juice and olive oil.
It’s been almost thirty days since I posted a recipe. Totally unintentional and well I’m back for now, with a seriously delicious recipe.
Syrian cuisine is a mixture of the cultures and civilisations that settled in Syria, of which are the Arabs, Persians and Turks. It is very similar to other Levantine cuisines, mainly Lebanese, Palestinian, Jordanian and Iraqi.
Kibbeh – minced meat and bulgar wheat, typically served in the form of croquettes is the national dish of Syria and Meze – a selection of small hot and cold dishes served as appetizers before a meal are popular too.
First we begin with marinating the chicken pieces and I chose my kids favourite – drumsticks. You can use breast or even a whole chicken if you prefer but, you will have to adjust the cooking time accordingly.
Olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, hot pepper paste plus S & P
Make a few cuts in the chicken pieces before coating in the marinade, cover and refrigerate, preferably overnight or a few hours will be good too.
Next up potatoes. The original dish doesn’t even mention the word chicken in the title. I’m guessing for most Syrians this dish is all about the potatoes and I totally get that. The punchy garlic and hot pepper alongside lemon and olive oil work just as well with potatoes as they do with chicken.
If you’re a vegetarian you can still enjoy this dish and easily replace the chicken with some different veggies such as squash, carrot, aubergine and courgette.
First I went with new potatoes because that’s what my husband brought home and I have to admit I do love the thin crisp skin of a fried or in this case roasted new potato. You can easily use regular baking potatoes like the original recipe and as I did the second time cooking. I still leave the skins on and cut into 5mm discs.
The original recipe says to fry the cut potatoes first, before placing in roasting tin with the chicken and to top with water?! I don’t know about you but, I prefer to Par-boil potatoes before roasting them, this ensures they cook through. Boil the new potatoes / sliced baking potatoes for 10 minutes, drain and if using new potatoes, you can
stab make a few cuts in the potatoes like we did with the chicken, this helps the marinade get inside to add flavour.
One of the key ingredients for the marinade is hot pepper paste, widely used in both Syrian and Turkish cuisine. I used a store-bought hot pepper paste of which a mild version is available and I’m sure there are home-made recipes out there on the web if you want to go the extra mile. For me roast dinners are an easy affair that happen far more often in my house than appear on the blog. They are just so easy, one could say too easy. The hardest part for me is planning ahead to allow enough time for the chicken to marinate >>>disorganised Mum over here.
The heat from hot pepper paste is definitely there yet, it’s not so hot that you can only eat very little of the dish. My young children manage to eat this ‘spicy chicken’ all be it with a glass of water to wash it down with. As you can imagine they are not spice lovers, yet.
The main stand out flavour of this dish is garlic with hot pepper coming in more as you eat. It also adds a lovely colour to the dish.
Place your par-boiled spuds in the roasting tin first followed by the chicken and all the marinade.
Ideally you would use a larger roasting tin than the one above. The second time I learned from this and shared my chicken and potatoes between two small roasting tins also, I reduced the amount of Olive Oil in the marinade. Now, as much as I love mopping up the juices/oil from the roasting pan with bread, there was just way too much the first time and then there is the fact I’d used new potatoes, they like to be dressed in oil not soaked! The sliced baking potatoes did a better job at soaking up the flavoursome oil on my second try.
I absolutely love this dish: it’s easy, well-flavoured and all the family enjoy it.
It’s going to be on my lunch / dinner table more often than I’d like you to know. (In shaa Allah)
Syrian Roast Chicken & Potatoes
roast chicken and potatoes with big bold flavours of garlic and hot pepper
- 700g or 7 halal chicken drumsticks
- 1kg potatoes (washed, if using baking potatoes cut into approx 5mm discs)
- 60ml olive oil (I used extra virgin)
- 2 lemons, juice only
- 8-10 garlic cloves, crushed (I use 8 if large or 10 if irregular in size)
- 2 tablespoon hot pepper paste
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- In a large freezer bag or a bowl place all of the marinade ingredients, mix well. Take the chicken drumsticks, peel back the skin and make cuts in the chicken flesh then massage the marinade into the chicken, cover and refrigerate for a few hours but preferably overnight.
- Pre-Heat oven to gas mark 6 / 400 f / 200 c. Lightly oil or line a roasting tin with foil. Bring a large pan of water to the boil with a pinch of salt, carefully add potatoes bring back to boil, cover and lower heat a little. Boil for 10 minutes, drain then add preferably in a single layer to the roasting tin. Put the chicken pieces on top and brush on the remaining marinade over the potatoes and chicken.
- Place on the upper shelf of oven and roast for 40-45 minutes or until cooked, turn chicken and potatoes and baste every 15-20 minutes to ensure an even colour / crispness. If the chicken skin still hasn’t crisped to your liking, place on a seperate baking tray and grill for around 5 minutes on high, turning often until crisp.
prep time doesn’t include marinating overnight. if using chicken breast you can increase the oil in the marinade by 20ml and cook for less time. A whole chicken 1.5kg would take around 1 hours 30 minutes to cook, test by inserting knife in the upper thigh and if the juices run clear it’s cooked.