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Whole Roast Cinnamon Chicken with Rice
February 2024
Reading time 1 Minute
This recipe featured in my very first book, The 5 O'Clock Apron. Ten years on and eight cookbooks later, this is still very much a favourite for my whole family. The whole chicken cooks over the rice, with the spices scenting both the chicken and the rice to create the most deliciously sticky chicken pilaf, a perfect accompaniment to the roast chicken itself. My friend Jemma gave me the bare bones to this recipe, the origins of which were given to her by her Jewish grandmother, herself apparently a very fine cook.
  • 250g basmati rice
  • 1 whole chicken (about 1.5kg)
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt, plus more to season
  • 3 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 500ml hot chicken stock (or use boiling water)
  • 1 cinnamon stick (about 10cm)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Lemon wedges, to serve

Preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan/Gas 7.

Rinse the rice in plenty of cold running water, then drain well and set aside.

Rub the chicken all over with the oil, salt and half the ground cinnamon. Put the bay leaves and a big pinch of salt into the chicken cavity.

Place the onions into a deep roasting tin and add 1cm depth of water. Place the chicken breast-side up on top. roast for 30 minutes, until coloured.

Remove the pan from the oven and place the par-cooked chicken on a large plate.

Add the well-drained rice to the onion mixture along with the remaining ground spices and stir well to coat, then pour over the hot stock and season with salt. Place the whole cinnamon stick inside the chicken.

Place the par-cooked chicken back in the middle of the tin, on top of the rice, cover tightly with foil and return to the oven to cook for about 30–40 minutes, until the chicken and rice are cooked and the liquid is absorbed.

Remove from the heat and allow the dish to rest, covered, for 15 minutes.

Give the rice and chicken a final seasoning with salt and a generous grinding of fresh black pepper, then serve with wedges of lemon to squeeze over at the table.

Recipe extracted from One Pan Chicken by Claire Thomson (Quadrille, £20), Photography © Sam Folan

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