Sticky roast chicken with tomato glaze

This glaze makes about two cups and can be used with any roasted or barbecued meats. Place leftovers into sterilised jars and keep in the fridge for up to a month. It's really worth brining – you get a moister finished bird.


  • 1.4kg free-range chicken
  • Sea salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 3 tsp olive oil

  • For the brine
  • 300g fine sea salt
  • 300g brown sugar
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 4 cloves, whole
  • 2 bay leaves

  • For the glaze
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 brown onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp cayenne
  • ½ tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 3g smoky sweet paprika
  • 250g tomato sauce (use gluten-free if required)
  • 50g Dijon mustard
  • 30ml apple cider vinegar
  • 30ml orange juice
  • 30ml Worcestershire sauce (check gluten-free if required)
  • 45g honey
  • 45g brown sugar


The day before cooking, place the brine ingredients into a container just large enough to hold the chicken. Add 2 litres of warm water, stir for a few minutes to dissolve the sugar and salt, and allow to cool. Submerge chicken, breast side down, and place in the refrigerator for 12 hours.

For the glaze, melt butter in a saucepan over a low heat. Add onion, garlic and salt. Cook until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add spices and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and combine. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced and thickened, about 15-20 minutes. Blend until smooth.

Remove chicken from brine 1-2 hrs before cooking. When it has reached room temperature, pat dry with paper towel and sprinkle with salt, pepper and cumin. Rub into skin and leave for 10 minutes.

Preheat oven to 200°C.

Place chicken on a rack inside a roasting pan and drizzle with oil. Put 1cm water in base. Roast for 20 minutes, then remove and liberally apply glaze.

Reduce oven to 180°C, roast for 20 minutes, then glaze again. Continue to roast the chicken until thigh juices run clear, about another 20 minutes. (If you have a thermometer, roast until the temperature reaches 70°C at the thickest part of the thigh, being careful not to touch the bone as this will give you a false reading.)

Turn off oven, glaze chicken again, then rest in the oven for 15 minutes with door slightly ajar.

Serve chicken at the table with extra glaze.

NOTES: Want something to drink?
Try the 2013 Eden Road The Long Road Syrah, Canberra District.

This cool-climate shiraz has the vibrant acidity to cut through the chicken's rich, sticky glaze. Aged in older French oak, it's an elegant wine featuring subtle savoury notes and bursting with red cherry flavours.

First published in the Good Weekend. Photography by William Meppem and Jennifer Soo. Styling by Hannah Meppem. Food preparation by Nick Banbury.