Whole Roasted Chicken image

Za’atar Whole Roasted Chicken with Celery Root and Potato Purée

When the family gathers for feast, there’s nothing like serving a whole chicken – or maybe two! Everyone loves to carve off their favourite piece for a personalized plate. For this recipe, we’ve crusted the entire chicken with za’atar, and salt and pepper, and infused it with lemon, making it moist and delicious right through. Finish the feast with a creamy celery root and potato purée. Make a memory of a family feast together tonight.

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour

Chef’s Tips

  • Celery root may also be named celeriac or knob celery
  • If doubling this recipe for a crowd, make sure the chickens have at least two inches of space surrounding them to ensure a crispy skin. If necessary, use two roasting pans and rotate them halfway through cooking.


For the za’atar chicken:

  • 1 3½ to 4 lb (1590 g to 1815 g) Sargent Farms bone-in whole chicken
  • 5 large cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 lemons, sliced into ½-inch thick rounds
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) olive oil
  • ½ tsp (2 g) ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp (1 g) salt
  • 3 tbsp (18 g) za’atar spice blend
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) water

For the purée:

  • ¼ cup (60 ml) heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp (28 g) butter
  • 2 tbsp (8 g) fresh oregano leaves, packed
  • 2 lbs (954 g) celery root (about 1 large), peeled and cut into 1 ½ inch cubes
  • 1 lb (454 g) yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 ½ inch cubes
  • ½ tsp (3 g ) salt
  • ½ tsp (2 g) ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg


For the za’atar chicken:

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C).
  2. Rinse chicken and pat completely dry with paper towels. Place the garlic cloves and ½ the lemon slices into the cavity of the chicken.
  3. Rub chicken with olive oil, salt and pepper. Coat entire bird with za’atar, pressing to adhere the spice to the skin.
  4. Tuck the wing tips under the back and tie the legs together with kitchen twine.
  5. Place the remaining lemon slices in a roasting pan; set the chicken on top, breast side up, and place into the oven.
  6. After 30 minutes, add the water to the pan to prevent any loose za’atar from scorching.
  7. Roast until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 165°F (75°C). The juices should run clear when the meat is sliced between the thigh and the leg; about 1 hour.
  8. Remove chicken and loosely tent with foil. Allow to rest for 10 minutes, then transfer to a platter.

For the purée:

  1. While the chicken is roasting, prepare the purée.
  2. In a small pot, combine the cream, butter and oregano and place over medium-low heat. Bring to a simmer for 1 minute, then remove from heat, cover and allow to infuse while the vegetables are cooking.
  3. Place the celery root and potatoes in a large pot and cover with water by 1 inch. Bring to a boil over high heat and allow to cook until vegetables are easily pierced with a sharp knife; 25 to 30 minutes.
  4. Drain well and transfer to a food processor, along with the infused cream mixture and the pepper, salt, and nutmeg. Process just until smooth; taste and adjust seasoning as desired. Transfer to a dish to keep warm while chicken finishes roasting.
  5. Carve the chicken and serve alongside the warm celery root and potato purée.
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