Farah’s Roast Chicken

Today’s chicken recipe was taught to me by our Persian Jewish friend Farah, though she stressed that it’s not a Persian dish. She learned this simple roasting method when she was living in Israel many years ago. I like to double the recipe and roast two chickens; place them side-by-side on a platter and garnish for a lovely presentation at a Sephardic Passover Seder. I just made this here at home, the kitchen smells amazing!

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Roasting Pan

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One whole chicken, 4-5 pounds, split down the back
¼ cup olive oil
2 tsp yellow mustard
2 tsp honey
5 cloves crushed garlic
1 tsp dried rosemary, crushed in hand to release flavor
½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 lemon
¼ tsp lemon zest (from the peel of the lemon)
Salt and pepper
1 whole head of garlic (optional)
Fresh curly leaf parsley, extra lemons (optional, for garnish)


Serves 4-6, depending on size of chicken
Kosher Key: Meat, Kosher for Sephardic Passover (contains kitniyot)

* Gluten Free Note: If preparing gluten free, make sure you use a GF mustard (ex. Annie’s Naturals Organic Yellow Mustard)


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Combine olive oil, mustard, honey, crushed garlic, rosemary and red pepper flakes in a bowl. Rinse and dry the lemon; zest ¼ tsp of lemon peel into the olive oil mixture. Cut the lemon in half and juice it, add the lemon juice to the olive oil mixture. Reserve lemon. Use a fork to stir olive oil mixture until well combined.

Rinse chicken, pat dry. Place chicken breast side up in a roasting pan. Turn drumsticks so that the end tips are facing outward. Season chicken with salt and pepper, then brush the olive oil mixture liberally all over the exposed parts of the chicken.

Push juiced lemon halves underneath the breast, flat side up, so the lemon will release its aroma into the chicken. If you’d like to roast a head of garlic with the chicken, peel off the outer skin until the cloves of garlic are visible and place it root side down in the roasting pan.

Cover roasting pan with foil and pierce the outer edges of the foil a few times. Place in oven and roast for 90 minutes-2 hours, depending on the size of your chicken. Chicken is done when internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F as measured by a food thermometer. Remove foil for the last 30 minutes of cooking to make the skin brown and crispy. Garnish chicken with fresh parsley and lemon halves.

Comments (10)Post a Comment

  1. I have been cooking chicken with lemon for years, but never this way. The very thought of this recipe makes my taste buds water!!!!!

  2. Hey Phil, thanks for the heads up on the mustard. On my March 12 blog I wrote about kitniyot, but failed to mention that this recipe contains it. I’ve updated the blog to reflect that info.

    1. To split a chicken down the back you cut it into two halves by cutting from the neck to the tailbone along the backbone. There are some helpful YouTube tutorials out there if you Google “how to split a chicken.” Hope this helps!

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