Two weeks ago when I had to pack for my mini break to Melbourne I remembered a recipe from the latest cookbook I'd been sent 'Gatherings' by Flora Sheddan. I flicked straight to the recipe for sumac roast chicken with carrots and chickpeas and even though there were a few things I didn't have on hand I knew I could easily substitute sweet potato for the carrots and cut down the recipe for 2 people by using chicken breasts instead of a whole chicken. A busy night, perfect for a time efficient chicken tray bake.
The recipe was so easy to adapt for two and although it doesn't look the most appealing dinner having two slightly shrunken chicken breasts sitting on top of an abundance of sweet potatoes, you could use chicken pieces, it sure had flavours that punched. The rub on the chicken was spicy and zesty, matching perfectly with the sweetness of the sweet potatoes and cumin. I added some lemon-ey greek yoghurt on the side as I am a bit of a pansy when it comes to spice but can't resist the spicy/cool combo of the two. I had the leftover sweet potatoes in a salad the next day with a vinaigrette and some greens - delish!
The book itself is such a beautiful piece and the photography makes you want to invite friends over to share it all. Throughout the book there are suggested menu's and layouts of feasts using all the recipes in the book. I personally love the sound of Bonfire Night and Wandering Weekend Roast, pictured above. Flora's way of cooking is non-stressful and she welcomes improvisation. I also made the balsamic onion soda bread the other night which was so quick to put together and would pair perfectly with some sharp vintage cheddar or bitey blue cheese.
Next on the list to make is the fig and pumpkin seed granola and as soon as I put my ice cream bowl in the freezer, the earl grey ice cream.
sumac roast chicken with carrots (or sweet potatoes) and chickpeasrecipe adapted from Gatherings by Flora Sheddan
serves 4 (or 2 if using chicken breasts instead*)
400g carrots, chopped into quarters lengthways
(or 400g sweet potatoes, chopped into wedge size pieces)
1 x 400g can chickpeas, drained & rinsed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons honey
1 large free range chicken (or 2 large chicken breasts)
1 garlic bulb, broken up
1/2 lemon, quartered
white wine, as necessary
hazelnuts, toasted and roughly chopped, to serve (I didn't have any so skipped this one)
sumac paste (half recipe if cooking for 2)
2 tablespoons sumac
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon dried chilli
juice of 1/2 lemon (keep rind and chuck in roasting pan with veg)
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic clove, crushed
salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 200c/400F.
- Start with the sumac paste. Use either a pestle and mortar or food processor and mix all ingredients together until it becomes a well combined paste. Set aside.
- In a deep roasting tray, toss the carrots and chickpeas with the cumin, honey and a drizzle of olive oil.
- If cooking a whole chicken - place the chicken, breast side up on top of the veg and stuff the lemon quarters and rind inside. Rub the chicken with the sumac paste so it is completely and evenly covered. This can now go into the fridge and marinate for a couple of hours or straight into the preheated oven to roast for 1.5 - 2 hours.
Check the chicken after 1 hour and give the veg a toss/turn if it's catching on the edges. Add a splash of white wine to the tray and continue to cook until done and the juices run clear. Allow to rest for 10 minutes then serve with a sprinkle of the toasted hazelnuts.
- If cooking for two and using 2 breast fillets - mix the lemon quarters, lemon rind and garlic bulbs in with the veg and bake for 40 minutes in the preheated oven. Meanwhile marinate your chicken breasts in the sumac paste. After 40 minutes the veg should be soft but not cooked through. Give it a toss, add a splash of white wine and place the chicken breasts on top, roast for 20-30 minutes depending on the size of your chicken breasts.
Rest for 5 minutes then serve with a sprinkle of toasted hazelnuts.
I also served this with some greek yoghurt that had a squeeze of lemon juice in it.
* If cooking for 2 and using just breasts instead of the whole chicken I would recommend to still cook the same quantities of sweet potatoes/carrot like I did. You'll get some great leftover veg that is delicious in a salad the next day with some added greens, avocado and a sharp vinaigrette.