Middle Eastern roast chicken
( SERVES 4 )
|1 to grease||Butter|
|1½ kgs||Chicken, whole chicken, without giblets|
|1||Lemon, zest and juice|
|2 Tbsp||Olive oil|
|½ tsp||Ground ginger|
|1 to taste||Freshly ground black pepper|
|3||Red onions, choose small onions and cut into six wedges|
|¼ tsp||Saffron threads|
|2 cups||Chicken stock, hot|
|⅓ cup||Dried figs, chopped|
|⅓ cup||Pistachio nuts, shelled unstalted, roughly chopped|
- Rinse the chicken inside and out, then pat dry with paper towels. Place in a large, lightly buttered roasting pan.
- Mix the lemon zest and juice with the honey, olive oil, ginger, cinnamon, cumin and black pepper to taste.
- Brush some of the marinade generously inside the cavity of the bird, then over the outside, reserving the rest of the marinade.
- Leave the flavours to infuse while making the stuffing (or for longer, if convenient).
- Preheat the oven to 180C. Put the couscous in a heatproof bowl. Stir the saffron into the stock, then pour it over the couscous. Cover and leave to stand for five minutes, or until all the stock has been absorbed. Stir in the figs and pistachios, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Spoon some of the couscous stuffing into the neck end of the chicken. Fold the neck skin over and tie the legs together with kitchen string.
- Arrange the onion wedges in the pan around the bird after it has been roasting for 40 minutes. Spoon the reserved marinade over the chicken and roast for one hour.
- Spoon the remaining couscous mixture around the chicken and roast for a further 25 minutes, or until the juices run clear when a skewer is inserted into the thickest part of the thigh.
- Remove the chicken to a carving board, cover loosely with foil to keep warm and set aside to rest for 10 minutes before carving. Serve with the couscous and onions.