Full Recipe

Middle Eastern Eight Spice Chicken with Farro and Pomegranate Salad


Because pomegranates are available for a relatively short season we eat them every day. They’re perfect for adding to summer salads, desserts, as a garnish, in sauces and more. I used them in all parts of this week’s recipe. I used a whole butterflied chicken but chicken pieces would be just as good. This is great on the BBQ – the chicken is moist and flavoursome. I thought it might burn easily because of the pomegranate dressing but it was fine.  


Ingredients (for 4)

For the Chicken 

1 whole chicken, butterflied

4 cloves of garlic

2 tsp fresh thyme leaves

1 tsp salt

1 tsp black peppercorns

1½ tsp whole cloves

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tbsp ground allspice

2 tsps ground ginger

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground nutmeg

2 tsps coriander seeds

5 tbsps olive oil

3 tbsps pomegranate dressing or molasses (stallholder Turkish Bazaar as a good one)


Using a mortar and pestle crush the garlic with a little of the salt. Add the thyme leaves and crush everything. Heat the spices – peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, cumin, nutmeg, coriander seeds – in a dry pan till warm (they’ll start to smell aromatic). Add them to the mortar and pestle together with the olive oil, rest of the salt and pomegranate dressing. Grind everything together making sure the peppercorns, cloves and coriander seeds are crushed well.


Rub this mixture all over the chicken and leave it to marinate for at least 3 hours or overnight. Cook in a moderate preheated oven or lidded BBQ for about 1 hour or until the chicken is cooked. Remove from the oven, cover and leave to rest for 10-15 minutes.



4 onions, peeled and finely sliced using a mandolin

200ml vegetable oil


Heat the oil in a pan till medium hot. Add the onions. Cook for 30-45 minutes or until the onions are golden. Turn down the heat so they don’t burn. Drain on paper towels. As they cool they’ll get a bit crispy.


Farro and Pomegranate Salad

Cook farro (or pearl barley) as per the instructions on the packet. Drain and season with salt and pepper. Add extra virgin olive oil and pomegranate dressing while the farro is still warm. Next add two good handfuls of finely chopped parsley mixed with chopped mint and 2-3 finely chopped spring onions. Finally mix in seeds of a pomegranate. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.



Mix 2-3 tbsps finely chopped coriander into ½ cup Greek yoghurt and seeds of half a pomegranate.


To serve – cut the chicken into pieces. Top each piece with some of the onions and scatter with a few pomegranate seeds. Serve with the farro salad and a spoonful of the sauce.