Couscous Roast Chicken
I am slowly submerging from the holiday marathon and the unavoidable food overdose. There were so many meals shared and so many lasting memories, but it's also nice to be back to the humdrum of daily life, countless laundry loads and all.
I kept my holiday menu very simple but I did peak into a few cookbooks for inspiration. I mentioned in the previous post about The Monday Morning Cooking Club and their first book, which I used for the honey cake. I also got this Couscous Roast Chicken from there.
Since I don't eat red meat, chicken makes copious appearances at our meals. I cook chicken in so many ways, with so many different flavors, using so many techniques. I don't tire of it at all, but sometimes there is a recipe that stands out and that I keep close by. This is one of them. The first time I made it, I had many guests over and they all loved it, the compliments were pouring in. The sincere kind, not the perfunctory "it's so good", but the ones said wholeheartedly due to sheer enjoyment.
The meat comes out tender and juicy and the stuffing is part savory, part citrus-y, part sweet and has a great crunch from the pistachios. It's truly a wonderful one pan meal that comes together nicely with minimal mess (a major bonus in my eyes).
The Monday Morning Cooking Club boasts many more amazing recipes, some of which I have yet to try like their Pear Tarte Tatin. But my favorite part of this cookbook and of their newer cookbook The Feast Goes On, is the blurbs to each recipe from the contributor. I love the memories they share, the glimpse into different cultures and the emotional connection to each recipe. It's adds depth and joy in the kitchen, a delightful companion this cookbook is. Thanks Debbi for this chicken recipe.
Couscous Roast Chicken
fromThe Monday Morning Cooking Club p.233
125g (2/3 cup) couscous
6 saffron threads
finely grated zest of 1 lemon or orange
large pinch of ground cinnamon
185ml (3/4 cup) boiling chicken stock (I used water)
80g (1/2 cup) dry roasted almonds or pistachios, coarsely chopped
12 dried apricots or dates, sliced
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 tablespoons chopped mint
2 large chickens
125ml (1/2 cup) olive oil
Preheat oven to 200C. Grease a large roasting tin or baking dish.
To make the couscous stuffing, put the couscous in a heatproof bowl and pour over the boiling chicken stock (or water). Cover and leave to soak. After a few minutes, fluff with a fork, then add all the other stuffing ingredients.
Wash the chicken inside and out and pat dry with paper towel. Stuff each chicken lightly with the couscous mixture and place in the prepared tin, breast side up. Tie the drumsticks together with kitchen strings or baking paper*
Brush the chickens with the olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes, then turn the oven down to 180C and cook for a further 60-70 minutes, or until the chickens are golden brown and cooked through (the juices will run clear when the thigh is pierced with a skewer). To serve, cut each chicken into 4 and place on a serving dish. Sprinkle the couscous stuffing around the chicken pieces.
*I placed leftover couscous in a cooking bag and baked it with the chickens.