Roast chicken with onion sauce and couscous stuffing

Recipe by:

Couscous is a fantastic alternative to breadcrumbs in stuffing and the ingredients in this one make a headily spiced roast

Roast chicken with onion sauce and couscous stuffing

SERVES

6

PEOPLE

PREP TIME

30

MINUTES

COOKING TIME

120

MINUTES

CUISINE

Middle Eastern

COURSE

Main

Method

  1. In a wide baking dish rub the chicken with a mixture of olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Put it breast-side down so that the fat runs down and prevents the breasts from drying out, and pour into the dish about a small teacup of water.

  2. Cook in an oven pre-heated to 200°C/gas mark 6 for 40 minutes per kilo. Turn the chicken breast-side up after about 50 minutes. Test to see that it is ready by cutting into a thigh with a pointed knife. The juices should run clear, not pink.

  3. While the chicken is cooking, make the onion sauce.Put the onions in a wide pan with four tablespoons of sunflower oil, and cook, covered, over very low heat for 30-45 minutes until they are very soft, adding salt and pepper, and stirring occasionally. They will stew in their own juice. Remove the lid and stir occasionally until the onions are melting soft and golden. Add cinnamon, saffron, ginger and honey and cook for a few minutes. In all, it should take about one hour.

  4. Put the couscous in a bowl. Warm the stock, adding a little salt (take into account the saltiness of the stock) and the cinnamon. Pour 300ml  of the stock — the same measured volume as the couscous — over the couscous, mix very well and leave for 20 minutes until the couscous has absorbed the stock. Then stir in the oil and break up any lumps with a fork. Rub the grain between your hands, to air it and make it light and fluffy.

  5. Stir in the chopped almonds and pistachios (you can chop them in the food processor), the pine nuts and raisins, and mix well. Cover the dish with foil. All you will need is to heat it through for 20 minutes in a 200ºC/gas mark 6 oven before serving.

  6. Pour the remaining stock on top. Cut the chicken into six serving pieces, remove the carcass, arrange them in a wide serving dish and pour the onion sauce on top and let it mix with the gravy.

  7. Heat through at the same time as the couscous stuffing. Serve the two separately, or the chicken and sauce on top of the couscous stuffing.

Ingredients

  • 1 large chicken

  • Juice of ½ a lemon

  • 1½ tbsp olive oil

  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

  • 1kg  onions, sliced

  • 4 tbsp sunflower oil

  • Pinch of saffron (powder or pistils)

  • ¼ tsp ginger

  • 1 tsp cinnamon

  • 1 tbsp honey

  • 250g  packet couscous

  • 400ml  chicken stock (you can use 1 stock cube)

  • ½ tsp cinnamon

  • 4 tbsp sunflower oil

  • 100g  blanched almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped

  • 50g  pistachios, coarsely chopped

  • 50g  pine nuts, toasted

  • 50g  raisins soaked in water for 30 minutes

Method

  1. In a wide baking dish rub the chicken with a mixture of olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Put it breast-side down so that the fat runs down and prevents the breasts from drying out, and pour into the dish about a small teacup of water.

  2. Cook in an oven pre-heated to 200°C/gas mark 6 for 40 minutes per kilo. Turn the chicken breast-side up after about 50 minutes. Test to see that it is ready by cutting into a thigh with a pointed knife. The juices should run clear, not pink.

  3. While the chicken is cooking, make the onion sauce.Put the onions in a wide pan with four tablespoons of sunflower oil, and cook, covered, over very low heat for 30-45 minutes until they are very soft, adding salt and pepper, and stirring occasionally. They will stew in their own juice. Remove the lid and stir occasionally until the onions are melting soft and golden. Add cinnamon, saffron, ginger and honey and cook for a few minutes. In all, it should take about one hour.

  4. Put the couscous in a bowl. Warm the stock, adding a little salt (take into account the saltiness of the stock) and the cinnamon. Pour 300ml  of the stock — the same measured volume as the couscous — over the couscous, mix very well and leave for 20 minutes until the couscous has absorbed the stock. Then stir in the oil and break up any lumps with a fork. Rub the grain between your hands, to air it and make it light and fluffy.

  5. Stir in the chopped almonds and pistachios (you can chop them in the food processor), the pine nuts and raisins, and mix well. Cover the dish with foil. All you will need is to heat it through for 20 minutes in a 200ºC/gas mark 6 oven before serving.

  6. Pour the remaining stock on top. Cut the chicken into six serving pieces, remove the carcass, arrange them in a wide serving dish and pour the onion sauce on top and let it mix with the gravy.

  7. Heat through at the same time as the couscous stuffing. Serve the two separately, or the chicken and sauce on top of the couscous stuffing.