No matter the season or temperature, barbecue chicken is always a cozy, homely treat for friends and family. This is one of my tried and true, no fail recipes, and it’s a cinch to make.
I freely admit that this dish is one of the main reasons I can’t turn vegetarian. Couscous is perfect stuffing because of its ability to soak up any liquid, including fat. This property helps to keep the bird ultra succulent, and is the reason why this recipe is roasting perfection.
Perhaps the best thing about this dish is that anyone who can use a knife can make it, and with a touch of Middle Eastern exotic (my favourite), it’s a fail safe entertainer. Ask my sister and niece – they mention it every time we talk on the phone.
- Serves: A 1.5kg bird will serve 4 people
- Preparation time: 20 minutes
- Cooking time: A 1.5kg bird will take 90 minutes
- Wine match: A lightly chilled pinot noir
- 1 whole organic free range chicken
- 2 cups of prepared couscous*
- 150 to 200gm (depends on taste) goats cheese, crumbled or cubed
- 150gm dried figs, roughly chopped
- 3 tbsp pine nuts, toasted
- small handful of roughly chopped mint
- small handful of roughly chopped parsley
- juice of 1 lemon, plus the rind
- 2 tsp ras el hanout (or substitute with equal parts cumin and cinnamon, plus a pinch of saffron)
- salt and pepper
- 3 tbsp pomegranate molasses (or substitute with maple syrup)
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tsp ras el hanout (or substitute with equal parts cumin and cinnamon, plus a pinch of saffron)
- salt and pepper
Preheat the barbecue to 200C (392F).
Empty the chicken cavity and wash inside and out under running water. Pat dry with paper towel and place in a baking tray or ovenproof dish.
To make the stuffing mix together all ingredients, then stuff it into the cavity. To make the glaze mix together all ingredients and rub all over the chicken. Add a little more salt and pepper over the top.
Cover the chicken with tin foil and pop into the barbecue to roast. Chicken needs to bake for 30 minutes per 500gm; a standard sized chicken is about 1.5kg, and so requires 90 minutes of roasting. For the final 30 minutes increase the temperature to 220C (428F), and remove the tin foil so the skin can crisp up. To test if it’s cooked poke a skewer into the leg and if the juices run clear it’s ready.
Rest the bird under tin foil for at least 15 minutes before carving.
* To prepare this amount put 1 cup of couscous and 1 cup of hot water into a bowl. Set aside until couscous has completely soaked up the water, about 5 minutes. Fluff up with a fork.