Preheat your oven to 190°C/Fan 170°C/Gas 5. Take the chicken out of the fridge, unwrap it and remove the giblets (see our tip for making them into a stock). Pop the chicken in a roasting tin and set aside for 30 mins-1 hr to room temperature.
Meanwhile, make the shawarma spice rub. Pop the cardamom pods in a pestle and mortar and crush to open them up. Shake out the black seeds and discard the papery husks. Grind the seeds as finely as you can. No pestle and mortar? Use a small bowl and a jam jar or the end of a rolling pin to crush the pods and seeds.
Add 2 tsp each ground coriander, cumin and smoked paprika to the cardamom. Add a pinch of cayenne pepper – it’s spicy, so use as much or as little as you prefer. Peel and grate in the garlic. Grate in the lemon zest and squeeze in the juice from 1 half. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and 1 tbsp olive oil. Stir to make a thick spice paste.
Spread the spice paste all over the chicken to coat it. You can tie the legs together with kitchen string to keep them neat, or just leave them as they are. Loosely cover the chicken with a large sheet of foil, scrunching it onto the sides of the roasting tin. Slide the chicken into the oven and roast for 1 hr. Remove the foil and return the chicken to the oven for another 20 mins.
Take the chicken out of the oven and check if it’s done by inserting a skewer into the thickest part of a thigh. If the juices run clear, it’s ready. If not, slide back into the oven for another 5-15 mins.
When the chicken is cooked, pop it on a warm plate or board, loosely cover with foil and rest for 20 mins before carving. Serve the roast chicken with dollops of yogurt on the side, garnished with chopped parsley leaves.
You can use the chicken giblets to make a stock. Rinse the giblets, then add them to a pan with chunky veg like carrot, celery, onion and garlic, and aromatics like peppercorns, bay, parsley, thyme or rosemary. Pour in 1 ltr water, cover and bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for 1 hr. Strain the stock. To make a gravy, whisk the stock into the chicken pan juices with a spoonful of flour mashed with butter. This stock is perfect for adding to soups and risottos, and it freezes well.
A seasonal slaw
A fresh, crunchy slaw would make a smashing side for your shawarma-spiced bird. Peel and coarsely grate some celeriac, carrots and apples and mix them with finely shredded red or white cabbage and a couple of finely sliced red onions. Stir in a few tbps of mayonnaise or crème fraîche and add some chopped herbs such as dill, parsley, mint, chervil or coriander. Add a little mustard and plenty of salt and pepper, and stir to mix.