Spiced chicken en papillote with preserved lemon

Baking a whole chicken in paper makes for a beautifully juicy bird. Serve it with plain couscous to soak up all the juices.

You'll need

60 gm butter, softened 1 chicken (1.6kg), removed from the fridge 20 minutes before cooking 300 gm couscous 2 tsp olive oil Lemon halves and sheep’s milk yoghurt, to serve   Spice paste 2 garlic cloves, crushed ½ cup finely chopped coriander Finely chopped rind of ½ preserved lemon 1 tsp harissa 3 tsp ras el hanout (see note) Pinch of ground cinnamon


  • 01
  • Preheat oven to 190C. For spice paste, coarsely crush garlic and a pinch of salt with a mortar and pestle. Add coriander and pound to combine, then add remaining ingredients, pound to combine and season to taste.
  • 02
  • Rub butter all over chicken, then rub with spice paste to coat completely. Place 3 large sheets (about 45cm each) of baking paper on a work surface so they overlap, place chicken on top and wrap to enclose, securing with string. Roast until juices run clear when thigh is pierced with a skewer (1 hour 40 minutes). Rest in paper for 10 minutes.
  • 03
  • Meanwhile, combine couscous, olive oil and 1 tbsp cold water in a heatproof bowl and rub with your fingertips to coat the grains well. Add 400ml boiling water, stir with a fork, cover with plastic wrap and leave until liquid is absorbed (8-10 minutes). Fluff up grains with a fork, season to taste, cover again and stand until dry (8-10 minutes).
  • 04
  • Squeeze lemon juice over chicken, spoon cooking juices on top and serve with couscous and yoghurt.

At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people

Additional Notes

Ras el hanout, a North African spice blend that includes cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, coriander and rose, is available from select delicatessens and from Herbie’s Spices (herbies.com.au).

Drink Suggestion

Fragrant viognier

Featured in

Aug 2017

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