If you haven’t bought the new Simply Nigella book yet, do so. I honestly think it’s her best recipe book yet. It’s big and it’s beautiful and every recipe so far has been a winner. This is a recipe I saw in the book for Oven-cooked chicken shawarma and adapted, because in its iteration it used a lot of oil and served 6-10 people. I made this easy spiced baked chicken recipe for 4, intending to have the chicken for lunches the next day, but it was so good we gobbled up all four portions at once.
The reason this is so tasty even whilst being so damn easy is the marinade. I am a huge fan of a marinade – my butter chicken has one too and that is gorgeous, even though I’m fully aware that it photographs terribly. Run your chicken a delicious, flavourful spice bath and let it soak for hours. By the time you come to cook it it will be soft, juicy and incredibly tasty.
We have to talk about this garlic dip, too. I know it’s bad to blog recipes from a cookbook, but this garlic dip is so delicious I can’t help but share it. It deserves its own post, so expect that next week.
Adjust the level of heat for this to your own taste, but with the lemon juice and a sweet side salad I think it can take quite a punch of it. Without the spice it’s interesting and flavourful but not too overwhelming, so I think kids would like it too. Prep it when you’re cooking your dinner on Monday night and there’s dinner for Tuesday night sorted – oh, and the chicken reheats beautifully for lunch on Wednesday.
- 4 portions of chicken (see notes)
- 2 unwaxed lemons
- 4 garlic cloves
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons of paprika
- 2 teaspoons of ground cumin
- Hot chilli powder - between 1 teaspoon and 1 tablespoon
- 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
- 1/2 a teaspoon of nutmeg
- Salt and pepper
- Salad, to serve
- Garlic dip, to serve
- Add the chicken to a bowl and spray well with oil. Use a fine grater to grate the lemon zest of both lemons, and add to the bag along with the juice of one lemon. Keep the other, un-juiced lemon, in the fridge for the next day
- Use the fine grater to grate in the garlic cloves. Add all of the spices, including the bay leaves, and mix well so that the chicken is evenly coated. Cover with clingfilm and refrigerate overnight
- Preheat the oven to 220C. Lay the chicken in a roasting tin so that they're not touching or overlapping. Bake in the hot oven for 30 minutes. Cut through a thick piece of chicken to check it's cooked
- Serve with salad, chips, couscous, or stuffed into pitta
- Nigella used chicken thighs, so that's what I went for too. Chicken thighs have a much stronger taste which is good for this punchy meal, but you can use breasts or fillets too.