Moroccan Spiced Roast Chicken

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Nici Wickes

Wine match: Selaks Reserve Hawkes Bay Merlot Cabernet
What could be better than a perfectly roasted chicken imbued with the fantastically aromatic spices from Morocco? This is a simple and easy roast and, paired with cous cous and a fresh carrot salad, it will take your taste buds on a magical journey.

Serves 4-6


1 whole chicken (buy the best quality you can afford)
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
1 heaped tsp ground coriander
1 tsp cumin
1 heaped tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp each salt and pepper
½ preserved lemon – flesh & pith removed, roughly chopped
¼ cup olive oil
1 cup pitted prunes, roughly chopped
2 medium red onions – peeled and sliced
Olive oil
1.5 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 Tbs honey




Preheat oven to 200 C.
Prepare the chicken by patting it dry inside and out and removing any excess fat from the cavity opening and tail end.
In a small bowl, combine the dry spices (cinnamon, coriander, cumin, ginger, salt and pepper), preserved lemon and oil and mix to a paste. Add the prunes.
Ease the skin of each breast away from the flesh, without tearing it. Using a spoon, or your hands, tuck about 2-3 tablespoons of the spice and prune mix under each side, pushing it down until the area is full. No need to get too fussy.
The remaining spice and prune mixture can be packed into the main cavity and then, whilst there’s no need to fully “truss” the chook, I do recommend securing the legs together, with either string, toothpicks or skewers, to aid in even cooking and so that the spice mix doesn’t fall out.
Scatter the sliced red onions into a roasting dish, or ovenproof casserole dish and place the chicken on top.
Mix together the stock, honey and a slug of olive oil and pour this around the chicken. Cover with tinfoil or the casserole dish lid and cook for one hour.
Remove the cover, reduce the temperature to 180 C and cook for a further 20-30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and dark golden on top.
Before serving, baste the chicken well with the juices. Serve on a bed of cous cous with the roasting pan juices drizzled over it.

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