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Lebanese roast chicken stuffed with rice, lamb and cinnamon recipe

Lebanese roast chicken stuffed with rice, lamb and cinnamon in platter

Serves 4-6
Hands-on time 1 hour, oven time 1 hour 50 min

Debbie Major serves her Lebanese roast chicken with steamed spinach, a buttery rice pilaf and cacik – the Turkish equivalent of tzatziki.

Nutritional info per serving
For 6 servings

Calories 651kcals
Fat 29.5g (9.5g saturated)
Protein 66.8g
Carbohydrates 30g (15.9g sugars)
Fibre 3g
Salt 1.8g


1 tsp salt
½ tsp cumin seeds
4 green cardamom pods, cracked
4 cloves
100g basmati rice
1 tbsp sunflower oil, plus extra for shallow frying
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 fat garlic clove, crushed
½ tsp each ground cinnamon, ground cumin and ground cloves
Pinch ground cardamom
350g British lamb mince
150ml fresh lamb or chicken stock
50g toasted pine nuts, plus extra
2kg free-range chicken
Olive oil for rubbing
50g raisins
150g shallots, thinly sliced and layers separated
25g butter
250g carrots, cut into thin batons
1 tsp caster sugar
1 tsp pomegranate molasses (from the world food aisle of supermarkets, Middle Eastern shops or online)

For the cacik

200g cucumber
250g whole natural yogurt (we like Yeo Valley)
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tbsp chopped fresh dill or mint, plus extra to garnish


01. Put the salt, cumin, cardamom and cloves in a large pan with about  1 litre water and bring to the boil. Add the rice, bring back to a vigorous boil and cook for 5 minutes. Drain.

02. Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a frying pan, add the onion and garlic, cover and cook gently for 10 minutes or until soft and lightly browned. Add the ground spices and fry for 1 minute. Add the lamb mince and fry, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until it’s all changed colour. Add the stock and simmer for 15 minutes or until it has all evaporated. Stir in the rice, the 50g toasted pine nuts and some seasoning to taste.

03. Heat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/ gas 6. Season the bird’s cavity, then spoon in as much of the lamb and rice stuffing as you can. Tie the legs together with string to help stop the stuffing escaping. Put the rest of

04. The stuffing in a small ovenproof dish, cover with oiled foil and set aside.

05. Rub the chicken with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Put in a lightly oiled roasting tin, cover with foil and roast for 1 hour 20 minutes. Uncover and roast the chicken for a further 30 minutes and put the stuffing dish alongside the chicken.

06. While the chicken is in the oven, cover the raisins with boiling water and leave to soak for 20 minutes, then drain and dry well on kitchen paper. Heat 1cm sunflower oil in a frying pan, add the sliced shallots and fry over a high heat until golden. Scoop out with a slotted spoon onto kitchen paper, sprinkle with salt and leave to cool.

07. To make the cacik, peel the cucumber, cut it in half lengthways and scoop out the seeds with a teaspoon. Cut the flesh into small chunks and stir into the yogurt with the garlic, chopped herbs and some salt to taste. Chill until needed.

08. When the chicken is cooked, lift it onto a carving board, wrap in foil and rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the butter in a frying pan, add the carrots, sugar, 1 tbsp water and some salt and pepper, then stir-fry for 5 minutes or until just tender. Add the raisins and heat through.

09. Spoon the dish of stuffing into a warmed shallow serving dish and combine with the stuffing from the cavity of the chicken. Add half the carrots and shallots and fork them through, then top with the rest. Drizzle with the pomegranate molasses and sprinkle with extra pine nuts. Carve the chicken and serve with the lamb stuffing and cacik, garnished with extra herbs.

To Drink
For a white, try a peach-flavoured, juicy viognier. For red, pick a light pinot noir.

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