Roast Chicken with Garlic and Cumin

Whole heads of garlic are roasted along with the chicken in this recipe, then chopped and added to the pan juices to make a light but rich-tasting sauce. The chicken serves 4 as a main course or 6 as part of a tasting menu, as here. Amazing Chicken Recipes

Roast Chicken with Garlic and Cumin
Photo: © Petrina Tinslay


  • One 3 1/2-pound chicken

  • 2 large heads of garlic, top third cut off

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

  • 1/2 cup plus 1/3 cup dry white wine

  • 1/2 cup water


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Put the chicken in a small roasting pan. Tuck the garlic heads, cut side up, into the spaces around the chicken. Drizzle the chicken with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and rub it all over. Drizzle the garlic heads with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Season the garlic and chicken with salt and pepper. Turn the garlic heads so they're cut side down. Sprinkle the chicken with the cumin seeds. Pour 1/2 cup of the wine around the chicken.

  2. Transfer the pan to the oven and roast the chicken for 20 minutes; baste well. Roast for 25 minutes more, then add the water to the pan. Baste the chicken again and roast for 30 minutes longer. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the garlic heads to a plate. Continue roasting the chicken for about 20 minutes more, or until the juices run clear. Transfer the chicken to a warmed platter and cover loosely with foil.

  3. Pour the pan juices into a glass measure and skim off the fat. Strain the juices into a small saucepan. Set the roasting pan on 2 burners over moderate heat. Add the remaining 1/3 cup of wine to the roasting pan and simmer, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom, until the wine reduces to 1/4 cup, about 3 minutes. Add these juices to the saucepan and simmer over low heat until very flavorful, about 3 minutes.

  4. Meanwhile, break off 18 large roasted garlic cloves and set aside. Squeeze the remaining garlic from the heads and discard the skins. Finely chop the garlic and add it to the pan juices. Season with salt and pepper and pour into a warmed gravy boat. Carve the chicken and serve with the reserved whole garlic cloves and the pan juices.

Suggested Pairing

The texture and aromas of a white Hermitage will complement the roasted garlic and cumin in the dish.

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