Pastrami Roast Chicken with Schmaltzy Onions & Dill

This recipe, from Molly Baz’s new cookbook, was love at first sight. I don’t even own the book yet (it’s in my cart, don’t worry), but I knew the moment I laid eyes on this dish (on Insta) that I needed this chicken in my life. Thankfully, my Molly Baz loving friend bought the book and sent me the recipe – bless her.

Just like Ina, I too make a roast chicken for dinner pretty much every Friday night. I’ve tried a lot of recipes over the years – from the Ina classic with fennel and carrots to Peruvian-style with a green sauce to Portuguese piri piri, Israeli with zaatar and lemon to the cult-favorite Zuni Café rendition. All delicious, but this friggen chicken recipe blew my mind and transported me to one of my all time favorite places – Second Avenue Deli.

The pastrami spice rub is just magical and the synergy of the schmaltzy red onions with the dill made me feel like I was eating a bowl of matzo ball soup with my pastrami sandwich (my go-to order). It was just something else. Also, highly recommend serving this with Dijon mustard for slathering, as Molly suggests. Really delivers maximum Jewish deli vibes. Maybe the best part about this recipe is that it’s so easy to make with ingredients you most likely have on hand. This is my new favorite Friday night bird.

pastrami roast chicken

Pastrami Roast Chicken with Schmaltzy Onions & Dill

From Molly Baz’s Cook This Book

  • 2 large red onions
  • 2 whole garlic heads
  • 1 3.5-4 pound whole chicken
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup dill leaves, chopped
  • Dijon mustard, for serving

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut onions into 3/4 inch thick wedges and place in cast iron skillet or roasting pan. Cut garlic heads in half and place in skillet nestled with onions. Drizzle 3 tablespoons olive oil over the onions and garlic, sprinkle with about a teaspoon of salt and toss gently. Adjust garlic heads to they are cut side down in the pan.

In a small bowl combine 1.5 teaspoon salt** (I used a Kosher chicken so cut back quite a bit on the salt, Molly uses 4 teaspoons in her recipe), 1 tablespoon paprika, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, 1 teaspoon black pepper and 2 tablespoons olive oil mixing until a paste forms. Place the chicken breast side up on top of the onions in the skillet. Rub the paste all over the chicken – really get into the nooks and crannies and underside of the chicken!

Roast the chicken for 50-65 minutes, giving the onions a toss after 30 minutes. My bird got a bit too dark, you can tent with foil if it starts to get too dark for the remainder of the cook time if this happens to you.

Sprinkle the onions and garlic with the dill. Carve chicken and return on top of the onions and garlic for serving. Slather with that dijon for maximum pastrami sandwich vibes.

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