Roast chicken with lemon couscous

A large chicken like this is amazingly economical. It will give enough meat for about 8 portions, or you can serve 4 people and have plenty of leftovers for sandwiches, salads and other dishes. The lemon couscous adds a novel accompaniment.

Roast chicken with lemon couscous


  • 4 large lemons
  • 2 cups (370 g) couscous
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 litre hot chicken or turkey stock, preferably homemade
  • ⅔ cup (120 g) dried apricots, chopped
  • ⅓ cup (20 g) chopped fresh mint1 chicken, about 2 kg, without giblets
  • 150 ml dry sherry
  • salt and pepper
  • sprigs of fresh mint to serve


  1. Halve the lemons lengthwise and squeeze the juice into a jug.
  2. Pull the membranes and pulp from each lemon half to leave a clean shell.
  3. Cut a thin slice off the base of each shell so that it can stand.
  4. Set aside.
  5. Place the couscous in a bowl.
  6. Add 4 tablespoons of the lemon juice, the spices, 3 cups (750 ml) of the stock, the apricots and mint, and mix well.
  7. Leave to soak for 10 minutes.
  8. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  9. Place the chicken on a rack in a medium–sized roasting pan and pour over 150 ml hot water.
  10. When the couscous is ready, use a spoon to stuff some of it into the neck end of the chicken (do not pack it in too firmly).
  11. Secure the skin flap underneath the bird with the wing tips.
  12. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice over the bird.
  13. Cover the chicken loosely with oiled foil and roast for 1½ hours.
  14. Baste the chicken occasionally and remove the foil for the last 30 minutes of cooking to allow the skin to brown.
  15. Test the chicken by pushing a metal skewer or thin knife into the thickest part of the thigh; the juices should run clear.
  16. If they are still pink, continue to roast the bird, testing every 10 minutes.
  17. Meanwhile, fill the lemon halves with couscous.
  18. Spread the rest of the couscous in a small ovenproof dish and sit the filled lemon halves on top.
  19. Cover loosely with foil and place in the oven for the last 20 minutes of the chicken's roasting time, to heat through.
  20. Remove the chicken from the pan and leave it to rest for 10 minutes.
  21. Skim all the fat from the surface of the juices in the pan, then add the sherry and remaining 150 ml stock.
  22. Bring to the boil on the stove, scraping up the browned bits.
  23. Boil for 5 minutes.
  24. Season.
  25. Carve the chicken and serve with the couscous–filled lemons, garnished with mint sprigs, the extra couscous and the pan sauce.

Serves 8
Preparation: 20 minutes, plus 10 minutes soaking
Cooking: about 1½ hours


Perfect Poultry

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