Friday 14 June 2013

Roasted Moroccan Chicken with Preserved Lemons

Two of my favourite things in the world is a good roast chicken, and anything Moroccan flavoured. I absolutely love layering flavours and while I’ve tried it once on a roast chicken I decided to put some extra effort in with the ingredients and try to come up with something a little more authentic, of course while not taking up a lot of my time in the kitchen as well. I used preserved lemons in this dish which is a Moroccan ingredient, and pretty easy to find at your local supermarket. If you can’t find these I would cut slices of lemon in half and salt them until you’re ready to use. I also realize that not many people have access to ras el hanout which is one of the main spice ingredients used in Moroccan cooking as a go to. If you don’t have it, and want to grab the flavour I suggest mixing half teaspoon each of, ginger, cinnamon, cumin, allspice and clove. Use what you have, if you only have two or three of those spices use them. It’s all about making it work.

1.4kg small/med chicken whole
1-2 tbsp. Ras el hanout
2 preserved lemons (about two halves for each side of the breast)

To prep:
Preheat oven to 200C (400F)
Rinse the chicken in cold water and pat try. Cut off any thick excess pieces of skin.
Place on baking tray, and slide your finger in between the breast and the skin, there is a little nook to do this without piercing the skin itself. What you want is to create a huge pocket for the lemons and seasoning.
After creating the pocket, slide two halves on to each breast spreading equally apart.
Rub the entire chicken with olive oil and sprinkle with ras el hanout seasoning

To Cook:
Cook at 200C For 20 minutes.
Reduce heat to 190 and cook for a further 60 minutes.
To see if it’s done pierce the thickest part of the thigh and will be done when there is no resistance and the juices run clean.

This is my go to settings for most roast chicken, and if your chicken is larger cook for a further 15-30 minutes or until the thigh juices run clear. Stay tuned for my moroccan rice pilaf that I served with it!

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