Moroccan Roast Chicken with Couscous Stuffing

, from Issue #43. August, 2015
Photography by Aaron McLean.
Moroccan Roast Chicken with Couscous Stuffing

Serve this spice rubbed chicken with roasted baby carrots for a delicious, but simple dinner. 

Serves: 4–6


1 free-range chicken
¼ cup melted butter
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
1 lemon, halved

1 cup instant couscous
finely grated zest and juice 1 orange
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1½ teaspoons each ground cumin and coriander
12 dried dates, finely chopped
½ cup chopped roasted almonds
1 cup boiling water or chicken stock
sea salt and freshly ground pepper


Preheat the oven to 180˚C.

Couscous: Combine all the ingredients in a heat-proof bowl and season with salt and pepper. Cover with plastic wrap and leave for 10 minutes. Uncover and fluff up with a fork then divide in half, using half for stuffing the chicken and reserving the other half for serving.

Chicken: Rinse the chicken inside and out with cold water then dry well with kitchen towels.

Spoon the couscous into the cavity of the chicken then place half a lemon inside to block the cavity and prevent the stuffing from falling out. Tie the legs together loosely with kitchen string.

Combine the butter, paprika and turmeric in a bowl and brush all over the chicken then season with salt and pepper.

To cook: Place the chicken in a roasting dish and pour ½ a cup of water into the base. Add the other lemon half and roast for 1½ hours, basting with the pan juices every 20 minutes and turning the pan for even browning. Test for readiness by inserting a skewer into the thickest part of the thigh – the juices should run clear without any trace of pink.

Rest the chicken loosely covered for 10 minutes before transferring to a platter and carving. Squeeze over the roasted lemon and serve with the reserved couscous. 

Cook’s tip: It’s important to divide the couscous before stuffing the chicken or you risk contaminating all the couscous with raw chicken juices while spooning it into the cavity.