Roast chicken joints in the Turkish style

Not so long ago I was taken to Istanbul as part of some Big Birthday celebrations. It’s a fascinating city, with history oozing out of every stone…and out of all sorts of other things, out of the language, the festivals, and of course, the food and drink.

It’s an exploring sort of a place, webbed by narrow alleyways, and stepped streets, and I am not sure I could ever find the restaurant where I discovered this way of making roast chicken again – I certainly couldn’t find a name anywhere. It contained tomatoes and peppers…but also we discerned rather to our surprise, cinnamon, and less astonishing, cumin.

Serve the chicken with basmati and cabbage with vermouth and shallots; or with jeera rice.


NB: allow time! It will take about 1 hour 30 minutes in total…and, of course, you can make it ahead of time and reheat.


It also freezes.


Recipe for roast chicken joints in the Turkish style

Serves 4


  • 4 chicken quarters
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed with 2 tsps smoked salt
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp byadgi chilli, or Aleppo pepper flakes..or Isot pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp allspice
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 50g/2 oz butter
  • 2 medium-sized tomatoes
  • 3 red and 3 yellow peppers
  • 80 ml/⅓ cup dry vermouth


  1. Mix together the crushed garlic with the pepper flakes, the cinnamon, the cumin, and the allspice.
  2. Smear the chicken joints with the spice mix and put them into a small, snug shallow dish or plate. Tuck the bay leaves around, and pour over two tablespoons of olive oil. If you have bags of time, cover in cling film and put back into the fridge – ideally overnight. If you don’t, just set aside while you sort out the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Preheat the oven to 210ºC.
  4. Core the tomatoes, and quarter them.
  5. Core the peppers, de seed them, and cut them into long strips.
  6. Move the chicken and bay leaves into a roasting tin. Drizzle over two tbsps. of olive oil and sprinkle over a little textured salt (Maldon). Pour in the vermouth.
  7. Roast for 15 minutes, then reduce the temperature and continue to cook for another 45 minutes (basting when you remember). Add the tomatoes and peppers, return to the oven and cook for half an hour more. The chicken should be crisp. Take out, and leave to rest for ten minutes or so before serving.


roast chicken turkish style


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