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Food The Bite:

Whole Roasted Chicken with Sumac, Roasted Vegetables, and Labne

Even after I found my confidence in the kitchen, the idea of roasting a whole chicken continued to intimidate me for years.Finally, one night, bored with my usual family dinner rotation, I decided to try it—and I couldn’t believe how easy it was!With almost no prep time, you get a delicious, no-fail, one-pan dinner that’s quick enough for Wednesday and impressive enough for Saturday night. This version gets its Middle Eastern flavor profile from one of my new favorite spices: sumac.The ground berry’s rusty hue might lead you to think it has a peppery taste, but in fact it boasts a tangy, lemon-like flavor that’s incredibly versatile. The labne, an ultra-thick, creamy yogurt—is another delicious Mediterranean touch. If you can’t find it, Greek yogurt is a fine substitute.

Whole Roasted Chicken with Sumac, Roasted Vegetables, and Labne
Whole Roasted Chicken with Sumac, Roasted Vegetables, and Labne

Whole Roasted Chicken with Sumac

by Athena Calderone, From Cook Beautiful


Serves 2 to 3

  • 1 (4 pound) chicken
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and softened
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning
  • 3 teaspoons sumac, divided, plus more for serving
  • 3 lemons, halved
  • 3 heads garlic, halved
  • 4 carrots, peeled and quartered
  • 4 small Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed and quartered (about 1½ pounds)
  • 2 small yellow onions, quartered
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • Freshly cracked pepper
  • 1 cup labne or full-fat Greek yogurt
  • Toasted sesame seeds, for serving
  • Flaky sea salt, for serving

The Prep

Place the chicken in a large roasting pan. Using your fingers, gently separate the skin from the flesh across the breasts and drumsticks. Rub the butter between the skin and the flesh. Rub the salt and 2 teaspoons of the sumac all over the chicken. If time permits, refrigerate the chicken, uncovered, for at least 6 hours and up to overnight.

Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Squeeze half of one lemon over the chicken and place it inside the cavity along with a half head of garlic. Scatter the carrots, potatoes, onions, and remaining lemons and garlic around the chicken. Drizzle the vegetables and chicken with the ½ cup oil. Sprinkle the vegetables with the remaining 1 teaspoon sumac and season with salt and pepper, tossing until the vegetables are evenly coated. Roast, tossing the vegetables occasionally, until the chicken and vegetables are deep golden and cooked through and the chicken registers 165°F in the thickest part of the thigh, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Allow the chicken to rest for 10 minutes before carving.

Drizzle the labne with oil and sprinkle it with the sesame seeds, some pepper, sumac, and flaky sea salt. Serve it alongside the chicken.

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