Archive of BBC Food Recipes

Roast chicken with fruity spelt

Prep time less than 30 mins
Cook time less than 30 mins
Serves 4-6
From Food & Drink
Fruity spelt brings an inventive twist to classic roast chicken in this dish. Serve with kale and leeks for a healthy Sunday roast. This meal, if served as six portions, provides 520kcal, 56g protein, 46g fat (of which 6g sugars), 12g fat (of which 3g saturates), 4g fibre and 0.6 salt per portion.


  1. Preheat the oven to 210C/200C Fan/Gas 6-7.

  2. For the spelt mixture, heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium-low heat. Add the onion and garlic and fry gently for about 10 minutes until soft. Add the spelt or barley and stir well.

  3. Pour in 450ml/16fl oz stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until the grain is tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed: about 20 minutes for spelt, a bit more for barley. Top up with a little more stock or boiling water if needed.

  4. Remove from the heat and stir in the chopped dried apples, lemon zest and juice, and plenty of salt and pepper. Set aside in the warm pan.

  5. While the spelt is cooking, untruss the chicken and put it in a roasting dish. Smear it all over with the rapeseed oil and season the skin and cavity with salt and pepper. Put the bay leaves and one sprig of thyme in the cavity. Tuck the remaining thyme underneath the chicken.

  6. Roast the chicken in the hot oven on its side for 10 minutes. Remove and turn the chicken onto its other side for a further 10 minutes. Baste the chicken with its own juices and roast breast-side down for a further 20 minutes.

  7. Remove the chicken from the oven, turn upright and spoon some of the spelt mixture inside the cavity. The cavity should be no more than two-thirds full as the stuffing will expand in the oven. Put the remaining spelt in the tin around the bird. Trickle 125ml/4fl oz of hot stock over the spelt.

  8. Turn the oven setting down to 180C/170C Fan/Gas 4. Return the tin to the oven and roast for a further 30 minutes, or until the skin is golden-brown and crisp. To check the bird is cooked, pull at one leg. It should come away from the body with relative ease and the juices between the leg and breast should be clear. If the juices are a bit pink and the leg a bit reluctant, then return to the oven for a further 10 minutes and test again.

  9. While the chicken is cooking, place the kale in a steamer and cook for 4 minutes, or until tender but not too soft. Melt a knob of butter in a large frying pan and add the chopped leeks, gently fry for 15-20 minutes or until soft.

  10. Carve the meat and serve with spoonfuls of the spelt mixture, kale and leeks.


For the spelt mix

  • 1 tbsp rapeseed oil or olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 300g/10½oz pearled spelt or pearl barley, rinsed
  • 600ml/20fl oz hot chicken stock (alternatively use vegetable/game stock or hot water)
  • 25g/1oz dried apples, roughly chopped
  • 1 lemon, zest of whole lemon and juice of half
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the chicken

  • 1 medium-large chicken (1.75-2kg/4-4.6oz), preferably free-range
  • 1-2 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 sprigs of thyme
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the kale and leek

  • 200g/7oz kale, stemmed and chopped
  • knob of butter
  • 2 leeks, roughly chopped

Shopping List

Roast chicken with fruity spelt

Fruit and vegetables

Tins, packets and jars

Cooking ingredients

Dairy, eggs and chilled

Meat, fish and poultry

This link may stop to work if/when the BBC removes the recipes
This site is under development - You can use it, but some things are not completed and may not be quite right!