Baking a whole chicken in paper makes for a beautifully juicy bird. Serve it with plain couscous to soak up all the juices.
- 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
- 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
- 1Preheat 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.
- 2Rub 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.
- 3Meanwhile, 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).
- 4Squeeze lemon juice over chicken, spoon cooking juices on top and serve with couscous and yoghurt.
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 Drink suggestion by Max Allen