Roast Savoury Chicken, Roman Style

    1 hour 30 minutes

    This is an old Roman method of roasting a whole chicken. If you can't find fig syrup, sweet steak sauce works just as well.

    5 people made this

    Serves: 4 

    • 1/2 cup (125ml) olive oil
    • 1 cup (250ml) red wine
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 leek, bulb only, chopped
    • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
    • 1/3 cup savoury
    • 2 tablespoons ground coriander seed
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 (1.4 kg) whole chicken
    • salt to taste
    • 1/2 cup syrup from tinned figs

    Preparation:30min  ›  Cook:1hour  ›  Ready in:1hour30min 

    1. Mix together 1/2 cup olive oil, wine, salt, chopped leek, dill, savoury, coriander and black pepper.
    2. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pan. Fry whole chicken over medium heat. Add about half of the seasoning mixture and continue to fry until chicken just starts to change colour.
    3. Place chicken in a baking dish large enough to hold it along with the seasoning mixture--both what was in the pan and what you didn't use. Rub the bird with the mixture for a minute or so.
    4. Bake at 220 degrees C for 1 hour, occasionally basting with the seasoning mixture. The chicken will look almost burnt when done. Moisten a plate with fig syrup, place chicken on it. Season with salt and pepper.

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    Reviews in English (4)


    Saturei is summer savory (satureja hortensis). Savory is found in any supermarket along with thyme and other herbs and spices. If you cannot find it thyme is a close substitute, but dried savory is lighter than dried thyme and has a slight lemony smell. This would eliminate the unecessary hassle of drying rose petals! I had a kitchen garden and grew many herbs including summer savory (annual) and winter savory(perennial). Liquamen was a Roman salty fish sauce. You could probably use Thai fish sauce or anchovy paste as a substitute. I have not made this yet but am looking forward to it.  -  03 Mar 2005  (Review from Allrecipes USA and Canada)


    Note: Liquamen is a salty fish sauce, usually substituted by salt alone; Defritum is a very thick fig syrup (i.e. canned fig syrup boiled down to 1/3 volume); and Saturei is a white-flowered European plant used in spicy bean dishes. For my own part, I made this dish for Valentine's Day. The meal was good, and tasted very exotic/unique/classy. However, the ingredients were expensive and the taste, in my opinion, didn't make up for the cost and the preparation time (drying the rose petals, chopping all the spices & veggies). Also, I found the fig syrup totally unnecessary since it didn't even taste like fig, just like sugar. Also, I have no idea what to do with the figs now. The meal was fine and we both liked it, but I wouldn't make it again. PS: I used Cornish game hens instead of a chicken, and the meat was succulent.  -  06 Mar 2003  (Review from Allrecipes USA and Canada)


    My daughter had to make this for her Latin class. I had no problem finding dried rose petals (very inexpensive) at the local health food store, and substituted fresh dill for 1.5 tbs. dried, and the leek with onion (only because I didn't have any leeks in the house at the time. Canned figs aren't that hard to find in the grocery store but instead I used honey with this, again b/c I had forgotten the figs. Figs however, are great on toast in the morning - I grew up eating them this way as my grandmother always had homemade fig preserves around the house (where the best fig syrup can be used).  -  01 Feb 2009  (Review from Allrecipes USA and Canada)