Lime pickle chicken with cumin roots and cauliflower puree

I could write love poems to lime pickle. I bloody adore it. It’s salty, piquant, sour taste just sends me wild – there’s always a jar of it in my fridge.

As a kid I hated lime pickle. Always choosing sweet, sugary mango chutney as my curry accompaniment. It wasn’t until I moved north and my tastebuds matured, that I grew to appreciate it’s tangy taste.

I’ve made lime pickle roasted chicken for years, seeing it in a food magazine at least six or seven years ago. Simply place lime pickle under the skin of your chicken and roast on top new potatoes. The resulting chicken is moist, seasoned and a little sour, the potatoes squidgy and delicious. The pickle caramelises in the oven, tempering some its tartness.

This recipe is an amalgamation of three things I make regularly, but never make together. A few nights ago I made all three at the same time, subbing in the cauli for the potatoes I usually use, as I’d forgotten to get any. As soon as I ate them all together, I knew I had to write this up!

If you want another recipe for chicken legs/thighs, check out my five-spice chicken wraps here.

Lime pickle chicken with cumin roots and cauliflower puree

Serves four – prep 10 minutes – cook 45 minutes

  • 8 carrots, peeled and cut into long, full length wedges
  • 6 parsnips, peeled and cut into long full length wedges
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 3 tblsp runny honey
  • 3 tblsp light olive oil or rapeseed oil
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 4 chicken legs, skin on, or eight thighs, skin on
  • 1 jar lime pickle, I actually really like Pataks for this
  • 1 brown onion, peeled and cut into eight wedges
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges
  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into fine slices
  • 200ml strong chicken stock
  • 100ml soured cream
  1. Preheat the oven to 180c.
  2. Place the carrots and parsnips in a baking tray or dish, so they’re all in one layer. Add the cumin, honey, oil, salt and pepper, toss to cover and put in the oven on the top shelf.
  3. Put the onion and lemon wedges in a large, high walled baking tray. Rub the lime pickle under the skin of the chicken and onto the exposed meat. Season with salt. Place the chicken skin side down on top of the onion/lemon.
  4. Drop the roots to the bottom shelf of the oven and put the chicken on the top shelf. Cook for 45 mins, or until done.
  5. 15 mins before the chicken and roots are ready, put the cauliflower in a pan with the chicken stock and put a lid on the pan. Place over a medium low heat and cook until really soft.
  6. Pour the cauliflower and stock into a blender and add the sour cream, blend until super smooth. Taste and season if needed. Add back into the pan and keep warm on the very lowest heat possible.
  7. Warm your plates (super need to or you’ll be eating cold puree, blurgh) and then divide the puree over the plates. Place the soft/crispy roots on top of the puree and the chicken on top. Place the crisped edged onions around the plate and pour over any lime pickle/chickeny juices.

If you want some greens, serve with lemon/olive oil dressed watercress/steamed purple sprouting broccoli.

Add a bag of those super small baby new potatoes underneath the chicken. You won’t get any juices to pour over the finished dish, but you’ll have seriously more-ish potatoes to serve on the side.

You could use a mixed pickle here, or a smoky chilli paste like harissa or chipotle to ring the changes.