Moroccan-Style Roast Chicken

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Moroccan-Style Roast Chicken

The humble chicken is one of the thriftiest Paleo meals around – much, much cheaper than buying just the breasts or the wings. For a family, it’s dinner; for a single person, it’s a hearty meal with plenty of leftovers for soup, salad, and broth. The typical way to prepare a chicken is to roast it, but it’s all too easy to get stuck in a rut making the same roast chicken again and again, until you never want to see a bird again!

This recipe is an antidote to any roast chicken boredom that might have entered your kitchen. A colorful spice rub adds a warm, earthy flavor to the meat, and the dates in the stuffing balance out the heat of the spices with just a hint of sweetness. It’s a little bit exotic, and a whole lot of delicious.

As an additional point in its favor, this recipe cooks a vegetable side dish right inside the bird, so you don’t have to worry about making vegetables separately. So it’s perfect for a busy evening when you can’t find time to cook a vegetable side (and then clean up another set of pans). If you do want a little something extra to go with it, try a recipe that uses mint: roasted cauliflower with mint and pomegranate would be an excellent choice.

When you’re cooking a chicken, you definitely don’t want to overcook, or you’ll lose that juicy tenderness and end up with dry, unappetizing meat. The recipe here is written for a 4 pound chicken, but especially if you’re using a free-range chicken, your bird might be smaller (so it won’t require as much cooking time). To test for doneness, simply pierce the chicken’s thigh with a fork: when the fork slides in evenly, it’s ready to eat.

Moroccan-Style Roast Chicken Recipe

Servings SERVES: 4Preparation time PREP: 20 min.Cooking time COOK: 1h10 min.

Ingredients

  • 4 lb. whole chicken, rinsed and patted dry;
  • 1 onion, chopped;
  • 1 zucchini, minced;
  • 6 fresh or dried dates, pitted and roughly chopped;
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced;
  • 2 carrots, minced;
  • 1 tbsp. fresh ginger, minced;
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika;
  • 3/4 tsp. ground cumin;
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano;
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cayenne pepper;
  • 1/4 tsp. ground turmeric;
  • 1 cinnamon stick;
  • 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil;
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste;
  • Cooking twine;

Ingredients for the spice rub

  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil;
  • ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon;
  • ½ tsp. cumin;
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste;
Stuffing

Preparation

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 F.
  2. Heat 1 tbsp. of olive oil in a skillet over a medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, and garlic, and cook until soft (2 to 3 minutes).
  3. Add the zucchinis, dates, ginger, paprika, cumin, oregano, cayenne pepper, turmeric and season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir everything and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Spoon the mixture into the chicken cavity and add the cinnamon stick. Tie the chicken’s legs together with cooking string.
  5. Place the chicken, breast side up, on rack in a roasting pan.
  6. In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients for the rub, and rub it over the chicken.
  7. Roast the chicken for 1 hour, basting every 20 minutes with the remaining rub mixture.
Chicken preparation

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