MOROCCAN STYLE ROASTED CHICKEN
I can’t say I blame most chefs when they say that they would choose a perfectly roasted chicken as their last meal on earth. There is something intoxicating about the aroma of well roasted bird with crackling crisp skin and juicy, tender meat. Maybe that’s why there’s a half mile long line at the farmer’s market waiting to get one of Thomas Odermatt’s now famous RoliRoti birds. That being said, sometimes I want something a little different.
Recently, after purchasing a beautiful organic Rosie chicken from the supermarket, I looked into my rapidly aging spice drawer and realized that it was time to make use of some of them before it they lost all of their flavor. Knowing I wanted to roast the bird whole, I found a great recipe on Epicurious.com for a chicken roasted in a Moroccan style. With the key ingredient in the dish being the spice blend Ras Al-Honout, I turned to Marcus Samuelsson’s book The Soul of a New Cuisine for a recipe. An extremely heady, aromatic blend of cinnamon, turmeric, nutmeg, cardamom and cloves, the Ras Al-Hanout lends the dish a truly exotic and authentic quality, miles away in flavor from your typical weeknight roasted chicken dinner.
ROASTED ORGANIC CHICKEN WITH MOROCCAN SPICES
from January, 2005 issue of Bon Appetite at Epicurious.com and The Soul of a New Cuisine: A Discovery of the Foods and Flavors of Africa, by Marcus Samuelsson
Lemons play a large role in this dish, as their tart juice and aromatic skins work perfectly with the warm spices of the Ras Al-Hanout. Be sure to scrub the outside of each lemon well before zesting and stuffing into the bird to remove any residue. If the chicken begins to blacken, don’t be afraid to cover those spots with foil. However, a little bit of charring in spots adds a wonderful toasty note to the dish and ensures an extra crispy skin.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons Hungarian sweet paprika
- 1 tablespoon Ras Al-Hanout (recipes follows)
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 garlic clove, peeled
- 1 41/2 -5 lb whole organic, free range chicken
- 2 small, whole lemons pierced with a fork
- 6 garlic cloves, unpeeled
- Position rack in the center of oven and preheat to 400°F. Blend first 9 ingredients in a blender until you have a moist paste.
- Remove neck, giblets, and excess fat from the main cavity of chicken. Rinse chicken inside and out; pat dry with paper towels.
- Rub 1/3 of the spice paste into the main cavity and neck cavity, then rub remaining spice paste all over the outside of the chicken.
- Place lemons and garlic cloves in the main cavity of chicken and tie legs together,
- Place chicken on a rack in a roasting pan and roast for 45 minutes. Tent with foil to prevent overbrowning. Continue to roast chicken until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 165°, about 45 minutes.
- Transfer chicken to a platter and let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
Makes 4 servings
- 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon ground turmeric
- 1/2 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom, preferably freshly ground
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Combine all the spices in a small bowl and blend well. To intensify the flavors, lightly toast the amount you need just before using.
Store in a tightly sealed container in a cool, dark place for up to three weeks.
Makes about 1/4 cup