Lilly Higgins: Roast chicken with figs and tabbouleh

Wed, Oct 4, 2017, 06:00

  • Serves: 6
  • Cooking Time: 90 mins
  • Course: Main Course
  • Cuisine: Middle Eastern


  • Serves 6
  • 1 free range chicken
  • 2 lemons
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 6 fresh figs
  • 1 tsp ground dried thyme
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 250g bulgur wheat
  • Large pinch saffron threads
  • 250ml water
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 15g parsley, finely chopped
  • 15g mint, finely chopped
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 100g toasted flaked almonds
  • ½ pomegranate, arils removed


Preheat the oven to 200C. Remove the zest from one lemon and set it aside for the bulgur wheat. Halve the lemons and place them inside the chicken’s cavity. Place the chicken into a roasting tin and season with salt and pepper, drizzle with olive oil.

Place in the oven. An average roast chicken, about 1.5kg will need 1 hour 20 minutes, so cook your chicken depending on its weight. Turn the tray around halfway through cooking time and baste with its juices so it browns evenly.

Mix the dried thyme, sesame seeds, honey and pomegranate molasses together to make a smooth paste. 10 minutes before the end of the birds cooking time, remove the chicken from the oven and pour the honey molasses mix over the entire bird, including the legs and wings.

Halve the figs and arrange them around the chicken, basting with the cooking juices that are in the tray. Return the tray to the oven to roast for the final ten minutes.

Once the chicken is cooked transfer it to a carving board and leave to rest for ten minutes, cover with foil to keep warm. Reserve all of the cooking juices in a jug. Leave to rest so the fat rises to the top and can be easily poured off and discarded.

Mix the pinch of saffron with a splash of hot water and leave for a few minutes. Place the bulgur wheat in a bowl. Pour the saffron water and 250ml boiling water over the bulgur wheat. Add the cinnamon and a generous pinch of salt. Stir to combine. Cover the bowl with cling film. Leave for five minutes then uncover and fluff with a fork. Add the lemon zest, parsley, mint, flaked almonds and pomegranate arils. 

Gently mix and serve immediately with the sliced roast chicken and figs. Drizzle the reserved cooking juices from the chicken over the tabbouleh or serve alongside it.