Moroccan Spice Roasted Chicken

, from Issue #57. September, 2015
Photography by Manja Wachsmuth.
Moroccan Spice Roasted Chicken

The sweet juices from the roasted grapes mingle with the fragrant spice paste to make a rich but light sauce to spoon over the tender chicken. 

Serves: 8-10


2 chickens
2 lemons, halved
2 cinnamon sticks

Spice paste
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon each ground cumin and coriander
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
2 teaspoons rosewater
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil

To cook
2 tablespoons runny honey
500 grams of each seedless red and black grapes 
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
handful chopped flat-leaf parsley


Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Rinse the chickens under cold water then dry well, inside and out, with kitchen towels. Season the cavities and stuff with the lemons and cinnamon sticks. Truss with kitchen string.

Spice paste: Combine all the ingredients in a bowl.

Place the chickens breast side up in a large, lightly greased shallow roasting tray.

Use a pastry brush to cover the chickens with the spice paste then season with salt and pepper. Add ½ cm of water to the pan to stop the paste from catching. 

Cover the chickens with a piece of baking paper then with foil and seal tightly. Roast for 1¼ hours. 

Reduce the oven to 170°C.

Uncover and drizzle 1 tablespoon of honey over each chicken. Cut the grapes into bunches and place in the dish then drizzle with the balsamic vinegar.

Roast uncovered for 30 minutes, or until the chickens are fully cooked and the grapes are tender and juicy, basting every ten minutes. To check the chicken is cooked, insert a skewer into the thickest part of the thigh, you want the juices to run clear. 

Cover the chicken loosely and leave to rest for 15 minutes. 

To serve: Carefully transfer the chickens to a serving platter. Scoop up the grapes with a slotted spoon and place around the chickens. Spoon off any excess fat from the pan juices then pour over everything. Scatter with chopped parsley.