Black Pepper Chicken Roast
60 Min

Black Pepper Chicken Roast

Today, black pepper is a pedestrian spice commonly found on every dinner table. However, at one time during the height of the spice trade, it had a royal pedigree, was highly sought after and commanded high prices. It is what inspired Christopher Columbus, the Italian explorer, to brave treacherous water, looking for India, the land of black pepper. And until the Portuguese explorer Vasco De Gama brought red chiles to India during the 1500’s, black pepper was the main source of ‘heat’ in cooking. Whole black peppercorns will last in a pantry upwards of 10 years, however, the fresher they are, the more pungent the flavor. Fresh from a recent trip to Kerala, India, the birthplace of black peppercorns where I got to enjoy them in their tender green state all the way to dried, black pepper is often used as a central flavor. This oven roasted chicken amplifies the sweetness as well as the pungency of black peppercorns. The ginger adds a zing and touch of fragrance. Out of all the home preparations of chicken I played with over the years of cooking for my family, this one has remained a top favorite. Leftovers are wonderful in sandwiches or added to stir-fry. 

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Cook Time

60 Minutes



Step 1
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Wash the chicken thoroughly and pat dry. In a large bowl, combine the chicken pieces with carrots and onion. Add yogurt, ginger, sea salt, 3 tablespoons of black pepper and olive oil and spread onto a greased baking sheet in an even layer, making sure that the chicken and vegetables are not too crowded.
Step 2
Roast in the oven for 20 minutes, then turn the heat down to 300°F and cook for another 20 minutes. Turn the oven off, sprinkle the remaining one tablespoons of black pepper over the chicken and vegetables and let them rest in the oven for another 10 to 15 minutes. The chicken and vegetables should be golden brown and clear juices from the chicken should have emerged. Garnish with herbs and serve.
4 skinless chicken legs, thighs and drumsticks separated (roughly 2 pounds total)
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into wheels
1 large red onion, peeled and cut into thick wedges
1 cup plain whole milk yogurt
3 tablespoons finely minced or grated unpeeled ginger
1 tablespoon sea salt
4 tablespoons freshly ground coarse black pepper
Fresh sprigs of cilantro or mint for garnish

Notes & Variations

  • If using boneless white meat only, cut the cooking process down to about half.
  • If you like your chicken a little saucier, add another half cup of yogurt. If you like it creamer, substitute the yogurt for sour cream.
  • Instead of or in addition to carrots, use potatoes, parsnips, butternut squash, or mushrooms.
60 Min

Are you making the most out of black pepper?

For the flavor of pepper to really stand out it has to be fresh. Buy whole peppercorns and grind them in a spice grinder or blender on high speed.