Sumac-Scented Persian Chicken

For an aromatically spiced alternative to classic roast chicken try Alan Coxon's simple but delicious Persian recipe.
By Alan Coxon
Sumac-Scented Persian Chicken
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4-6
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Effort: medium



  • 2 onions, finely sliced
  • 115 g butter, divided into two
  • 40 g seedless raisins, soaked in a little orange and lemon juice
  • 175 g prunes, stoned and soaked in a little orange and lemon juice
  • 175 g dried apricots, soaked in a little orange and lemon juice and sliced
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • black pepper
  • 55 g pine kernels
  • 1 (1.5kg) chicken
  • half a tsp sumac


1. Preheat the oven to 190ºC/Gas 5.

2. Melt 65g of butter in a heavy-based saucepan.

3. Add the onion, cover the pan and cook gently for 2 minutes.

4. Drain the raisins, prunes and dried apricots and add to the onion. Mix together and cook gently, uncovered, for 2 minutes.

5. Add the cinnamon and season with salt and freshly ground pepper, mixing well. Mix in the pine kernels and set aside to cool.

6. Prepare the chicken by separating the skin from the flesh using your hands.

7. Stuff the dried fruit mixture evenly under the chicken skin. Pull the skin gently over the filling and re-shape the chicken.

8. Melt the remaining butter and brush it generously and evenly over the chicken. Season the chicken with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Sprinkle the sumac over the chicken and place the chicken in a roasting tray.

9. Roast the chicken for 20-25 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 170ºC/Gas 3. Cook the chicken for a further hour until cooked through. Test the chicken by inserting a skewer into the thickest part of the thigh. If the juices run clear then the chicken is cooked through.

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