Marjoram and Pine Cone Roast Chicken

Marjoram and Pine Cone Roast Chicken - cookin5m2 -iphone

Being up here in the mountains is therapeutic.

Each week, we get all the stuff we need for our weekend event Blooming April and take the one-and-a-half-hour road up on Thursday to start preparing the space and the food before the weekend arrives.

Fridays are busy for us here. We lay out the mats with the tables on top of them, we wash the water and arak pitchers, we fix the garden and the house inside, and we work on the food prep with what we can make a day ahead. Despite the work load we have, I cannot miss the chance at enjoying a delicious lunch.

Marjoram and Pine Cone Roast Chicken Recipe - cookin5m2 -1073.jpg

I had this planned from the moment we were driving here. I bought an extra chicken for this.

Yet, I haven’t planned how to season it. But I got out. I looked around and picked a few green stalks, a few leaves and got back to the kitchen.

This is the kind of life I’m trying to shape for myself. A place where I can have most of my ingredients around me. A place where I can go down and water the plants by sunset. Somewhere I can have a drink after sunset on candlelight surrounded by trees with sounds of crickets and wolves and lonely birds and some chattering and laughter from far away houses. This is the life I am having, temporarily.

Marjoram and Pine Cone Roast Chicken - cookin5m2 -0705.jpg

Back to the roast chicken!
I came back from the garden with some marjoram, two different varieties of thyme, some fresh bay leaves, mint, rosemary, and a couple of dry pine cones.

I like to pound my spice rub in a mortar. The fragrance of freshly ground black pepper would infuse the rock salt along with the aromatic herbs added to the mix. The chicken is rubbed with oil then with the aromatic mix and stuffed with an onion, some garlic, half a lemon, cinnamon stick, and I sealed everything with a small pine cone the fit perfectly in that poor chicken’s orifice. But being delicious takes sacrifices.

Marjoram and Pine Cone Roast Chicken Recipe - cookin5m2 -1086

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Marjoram and Pine Cone Roast Chicken

Serves 3 persons


  • 1 large chicken (1.5-1.8 kg)
  • 4-5 bay leaves
  • 3 twigs marjoram
  • 2-3 twigs of each wild thyme and green thyme
  • 1 small twig rosemary
  • 2 twigs mint
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp rock sea salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1kg small potatoes, washed and scrubbed
  • 1 kg small onions
  • 3 heads garlic
  • 3 large carrots
  • 5 regular zucchinis
  • 1 small lemon
  • 4 dry natural pine cones


  • Heat the oven to 200ºc and take the chicken out of the fridge while you prepare the rub mix
  • Peel the onions and garlic and place in a large roasting tray. 
  • Cut the potatoes, skin-on, into chunks and add to the tray. Slice the carrots and zucchinis into chunky rounds and add with the potatoes
  • Coat with half the amount of oil and season with salt and toss to coat
  • In a mortar, add the salt and black pepper and pound until it’s all smashed
  • Remove the leaves of the herbs off the twigs and add to the salt and pepper mix and pound until bruised and slightly smashed
  • Place the chicken in the tray over the potatoes and onions and rub the skin all over with the remaining olive oil. Scoop the rub mix with your hands and massage the skin of the chicken until every bit of it is coated
  • Stuff the chicken with a generous helping of salt, a couple of bay leaves, some rosemary, a bit of marjoram and thyme and an onion, few garlic cloves and the lemon and seal it with a small pine cone. You can tie the legs together if you wish
  • Put the tray in the oven on high heat for 15 minutes then lower to 180ºc and roast for 1 hour. Check regularly and toss with a spoon to avoid the potatoes sticking to the tray
  • Turn the broiler on and broil for 10-15 minutes until the skin of the breast is golden brown and crispy
  • Leave it to rest for 10 minutes and serve with some Lebanese garlic dip “toom” and a fresh zesty green salad and a bottle of good white wine, our local Obeidy from Chateau St. Thomas or Pinot Grigio

3 thoughts on “Marjoram and Pine Cone Roast Chicken

  1. Makes me want to go plant some herbs right now! Tell more about using the pine cones, when I first looked at the picture I thought it was for decoration, and thought that was such 😎 cool idea, pushing the rustic feeling into the presentation, lol, how wrong I was… You actually cooked with the pine cones so, more details, please 😊


  2. Making this when early fall comes to New England for me. BUT…with parsnips instead of potatoes. They are so sweet when cooked and compliment chicken so well.

    Liked by 1 person

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