Roasted Lemon Chicken with Tahini Sauce

chicken tahini.jpgThere is nothing better than Cyprus lemons. Ok, I’m a Cypriot and maybe not too objective, but if you ever smelled a Cyprus lemon I’m sure you would think the same. Incredibly juicy, unbelievably fragrant (not to mention unwaxed!), everything a lemon should be. My grandmother used to make a fantastic dish called “kotopoulo lemonato”, which is chicken pieces on the bone, braised in lemon juice, broth and lots of garlic. In my version, I roasted the chicken in the oven with a whole chopped lemon, white wine, dill and lots of garlic. I added tahini paste which made the sauce deliciously creamy (ok, I sacrificed the fancy appearance but it was worth it) and sprinkled some sesame seeds before serving. I have to say, this dish tastes far better than it looks. This is my “kotopoulo lemonato”.

Ingredients

  • 4 Tbs olive oil
  • One whole chicken cut in pieces
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbs all purpose flour
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 spring onions, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1/3 cup dill, chopped
  • 1/3 cup parsley, chopped
  • 1 lemon, peeled (remove white flesh) and chopped.
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup chicken broth (or one chicken stock cube dissolved in 1 cup boiling water)
  • 3 Tbs tahini paste, divided

Method

Preheat the oven to 200 C. Put olive oil in a large skillet, over high heat. Season chicken pieces all over with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with the flour and cook in the skillet, a few pieces at a time, skin side down. Cook 1-2 minutes per side until skin is golden. Remove from skillet and transfer to a baking pan, skin side up.

Lower the heat to medium and add the chopped onions in the skillet, with a pinch of salt. Let them cook for a couple of minutes, stirring often until soft and they begin to colour. Add the spring onions, garlic, dill, parsley and chopped lemon. Cook for another minute or so, stirring and then add the wine, broth and 2 Tablespoons of the tahini paste (don’t worry if tahini makes the sauce look curdled. It will become smoother as it cooks). Season with salt and pepper and bring to boil. Stir for 30 seconds and pour in the baking pan with the chicken.

Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, basting with the juices once or twice, until chicken is cooked through.

Transfer chicken from the baking pan to a serving platter. Stir the remaining tablespoon of tahini paste in the pan sauce. Pour some of the sauce on top of the chicken and serve the rest separately for everyone to serve themselves.

Note: You can make the sauce smooth if you prefer, by blitzing it in a blender, after you add the remaining tablespoon of tahini paste.

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