Selma’s “Extraordinary Roasted Chicken, Chickpeas and Potatoes”

Selma won Food52’s Contest for “Your Best One Pot Meal” back in January 2014 for this chicken dish, which I’ve had tagged to cook up for nearly a year.If you know Food52 you know it’s a very popular and reputable food website/community helmed by the former NY Times Food Editor Amanda Hesser, lots of other serious professionals, and an army of talented home cooks, so winning the contest was no small potato.  In addition, we’ve recently learned that Food52 will be posting a “Dinner Tonight” tribute to Selma soon, which to me shows that even though they are a Big Deal, they stay small in knowing and recognizing their people. And Selma was one of their people, a very active member of Food52 with lots of posted recipes and photographs.

Back to the recipe:  After making it last night I see why it won.  Not only is it extraordinarily easy to make in that you throw together the marinade ingredients with the chicken, chickpeas and potatoes, and then you cook it, but it’s also a tangy, savory flavor bomb.  No browning of the chicken, no draining, no straining.  And an hour or so later you’ve got this:
chicken (5 of 6)


chicken 2 (3 of 3)

In the recipe instructions, Selma tells us “Serve with a dollop of Greek yoghurt or tzatziki on the side and prepare to be worshipped.”  Love that.

It’s a perfect choice for my contribution to Selma’s Tribute which I am co-hosting along with my friends Elaine@foodbod, jhuls@thenotsocreativecook and angie@novicegardener.  You can join the tribute by ADDING YOUR LINK HERE.


One of Selma’s talents was sniffing out tips and hacks and I think I could glean a tip from this recipe which is, if you want a downright velvet and lip-smacking pan sauce, add a touch of mayonnaise to whatever you’re roasting. It’s a perfect binder for the marinade and, together with the chicken drippings, makes an outrageously delicious and sticky pan sauce.  My only deviations from Selma’s recipe were to roast the chicken whole (out of lazyness), add a sliced onion to the bottom of the pan, and squeeze a lemon atop towards the middle of cooking time. Oh yeah, and I put everything in the pan I’d just cooked 2 grass-fed beef burgers in.  I am like Selma in that I don’t have a dishwasher (she eventually got one) and I don’t like washing up.

There’s been an veil of sadness in our home and in my heart since Selma’s passing and this dish brought some joy and warmth.

When late June came around I realized I hadn’t heard from Selma on Instagram or elsewhere in a few weeks, so I pulled up her blog and saw that she hadn’t posted since May, and hadn’t posted any photographs on IG in several weeks.  I knew this was an aberration and was concerned, so sent her a comment on her last blog post.  When I didn’t hear back I hoped she was just super busy with Jake and summer.  It’s a bit eery to read through her blog and the last comment, which went unanswered, like a lonely question mark.  Selma had been quietly and privately dealing with her illness.

I will forever be grateful that I met Selma.  She had so many words of encouragement for me and her comments would make me laugh so hard sometimes.  She was kind, witty, stylish, funny, smart and . . . she was just cool.  I felt a connection to Jake, too, because Selma early on nabbed my husband as a “dandy,” offering that her son was one, too.  So often we exchanged comments about our dandymen.

It’s sad to not have Selma around any more and frankly in my mind, just not fair.  But Selma wouldn’t have me getting all crazy with thinking about the unfairness of life, raging against the cancer machine, wondering why things happen, and go really morbid on the meaning of life and where we go when we die, etc.

I know Selma is chilling with the other baking angels and sourdough fairies in heaven.  I don’t really know what I mean by heaven except I believe that a soul such as Selma’s ought to be in that place right now we’ve been told is all peace and love, and unity with a benevolent Creator.  That’s what I want to believe.  Thank you for visiting this site and joining me in honoring this wonderful woman Selma Jeevanjee.

chicken (2 of 6)

Ready to Marinate

chicken (4 of 6)

Ready to Roast

chicken (5 of 6)

Ready to Put on the Table

chicken 2 (2 of 3)

Ready to Eat

chicken 2 (1 of 3)

Ready to Be Worshipped

Serves 4 to 6

  • 400grams chickpeas (about one 15-ounce can)
  • 800grams (1 3/4 pounds) potatoes
  • 1medium head of garlic, cloves separated
  • 8bone in, skin on, chicken thighs *** (I used a 3 lb. whole chicken, untrussed)
  • For the marinade:
  • 1tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 to 3lemons
  • 1 1/2teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1tablespoon buttermilk
  • 1teaspoon harissa paste (or to your taste)
  • 1/2teaspoon chile flakes
  • 1tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1tablespoon soy sauce
  • Salt and pepper to season
  • To finish/serve:
  • 2teaspoons dry-roasted whole cumin seeds
  • 80grams chopped coriander leaves and stalks (or one small handful)
  • 300milliliters Greek yogurt or tzatziki (or enough for each serving to have a generous dollop)

**note:  the recipe calls for a roasting pan but I used a medium sized enameled saucepan (more shallow than a roasting pan) because I like the chicken to be exposed to the air for the skin to crisp.

  1. The day before, rinse and drain the chickpeas. Peel the potatoes and cut them into 3 inch chunks.
  2. Give the lemons 30 seconds or so in the microwave to help release more juice, or roll on a flat surface while applying a little pressure. Slice in half and squeeze out as much juice as you can. Mix the marinade ingredients together in a medium bowl. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
  3. Place the chicken, chickpeas, potatoes, and garlic in a large freezer bag and pour in the marinade. Squeeze out the air and seal the bag. Flop it around a bit to make sure that the marinade gets everywhere. Place on a plate or in a bowl and pop in the fridge to marinate for a day. Turn the bag over whenever you open the fridge over the next 24 hours. (Alternatively, you can just mix the chicken, marinade, and other ingredients in a bowl, and place that bowl, covered, in the fridge, mixing occasionally as it marinates.)
  4. An hour or so before you are ready to eat, heat the oven to 200º C (375º F). Remove the bag from the fridge and tumble the contents into a roasting dish large enough for everything to be spread out. Season with salt and pepper. Cover the dish tightly with foil and cook for 1 hour. Remove the foil and cook for another 15 minutes or so, until the chicken skin and potatoes are crispy and cooked through, and the chickpeas get a little crunchy. Watch carefully to make sure the marinade does not go from gooey and delicious to a burnt crisp. Remove from the oven and scatter over the roasted cumin seeds and chopped coriander leaves.
  5. Serve with a dollop of Greek yoghurt or tzatziki on the side, and prepare to be worshipped.



38 Comments on “Selma’s “Extraordinary Roasted Chicken, Chickpeas and Potatoes”

  1. OMG Sue, thats incredible. I will be making mine tomorrow but now I am having second thoughts I love your photo’s and the write up. It’s wonderful and a fantastic tribute to sweet Selma.

    • Ha! Suzanne, it’s flat out delicious. I couldn’t stop picking at the garbanzos this morning! Whatever you decide to do it will be wonderful! And thanks again for hooking us up with Food52.

      • I am just so happy that the editors are going to honor Selma featuring 2 of her recipes. My guess is it’s the chicken dish and her chocolate peanut butter bars, yum!

  2. What a wonderful post, Sue, I can literally hear your voice as I read it. The dish looks fabulous, the photos are amazing, and your words about Selma are lovely xx she is missed so much but is now living on in all of our blogs xx love and hugs xx

  3. Sue, this is a beautiful presentation in memory of your friend and fellow chef Selma. All good thoughts, love and memories to Selma. She would love this scrumptious gustatory presentation! Great karma all around!

    • Thank you 440! Now when are you going to start posting recipes on your blog . . . ? Such as your marvelous mash up mixmeister creations?

  4. Sue, what a beautiful post in memory of a beautiful connection and a kind and generous woman. I’d had a few interactions with Selma too and had no idea until I read this post. Wow. I think her recipes and passion for cooking should be what you keep with you as well as her warm personality. What a great idea to have a tribute to her and for her. I do hope this recipe brought some comfort and joy with it, as that’s what the kitchen brings me when my heart or thoughts are elsewhere. Big hug to you.

  5. I would like to think that she is now hanging out with baking angels and sourdough fairies, too. 🙂 What a wonderful tribute to Selma, Sue. I will make this recipe soon to remember her fondly 🙂

    • Pang, it is a really perfect recipe and it made me realize that I should make one pot dishes more often.

  6. If I wasn’t already interested in giving this a try, I absolutely would after looking at your photos. It’s a spectacular Selma special. She would have given you two thumbs up. XOXO

  7. Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe and your memories of Selma. A lovely post and tribute.

  8. Sue
    You have me all teary eyes here! Any say a word more than what you already said above!
    About her being in heaven with other bread baking dough fairies—a big smile for that!!!! I bet she is churning the “hell” out of that heavenly kitchen!!! 😘😘😘😘❤️❤️

  9. This looks so good Sue like all of Selma’s recipes did. She had a way of putting a dish together that frequently made me hungry. Funny about the mayonnaise as I add that not only to sauces (if needed) but salad dressings. I just learned about Food52 and have been enjoying the site – I can see why this recipe won. Beautiful tribute and I love the idea of “sourdough fairies”.

  10. This sounds such a delicious recipe -not sure how I missed it before – I can see why it won. Your photos of your recreation are amazing as well, and the post in general is so beautiful. It has been so nice to read all the tribute posts already, especially those from people like yourself who knew her better, and I know more are to come. I’m sure she would have liked it, and I love the idea of her being with the sourdough fairies. 🙂

  11. What a beautiful dish to serve as a tribute, and I really enjoyed your experiences with Selma. I truly loved your statement “I know Selma is chilling with the other baking angels and sourdough fairies in heaven”. I also believe that she’s partying at Fiesta Friday with the rest of us! Thanks for helping host this week Sue.

  12. What a gorgeous post Sue – love, love, love that chicken. Beautiful to have read your connections with Selma, like you, I too kept looking out for her when I had not seen her surface in quite sometime. What courage and patience she endured to the end, I’m not sure I’d have been so easy to deal with had I gone through what she did. It is so hard to verbalize all that I’m reading from everyone who knew her, there’s got to be special words created just for her, she stood out, she was outstanding! I know she loved chicken recipes, and you’ve done a smashing job with her recipe. Would you please alert us when her post from Food52 appears? I’d love to read it. Love your post and all your expressions, tears of joy and sadness streamed through when reading your post. 🙂 Thank you for being supportive too and helping us all with your grief collectively.

    • Oh, thank you Loretta! The link to her post did go on Food52 last night; if you google Food52 you should be able to find it. They post several times a day but it’s under the “Dinner Tonight” category. Delighted to have you with us.

  13. I love this recipe! And everything in one pot! Amazing and I will make this! Chick peas are so delicious and with potatoes and chicken in the gorgeous marinade, a perfect and irresistible tribute to Selma!

  14. What a beautiful tribute Sue. Its so unfair how cancer takes away such brilliant people so early. You’re lucky to have met her, I know another blogger who has also met her who told me beautiful things about her. xx

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