Roast chickens with a fragrant couscous stuffing

  • Serves 8
  • Takes 10 min to make and about 1¼ hours to cook
  • Easy
A slightly different take on a traditional roast, this North African-inspired chicken recipe is perfect for entertaining.

Nutritional info per serving

  • Calories703kcals
  • Fat51g (17.8 saturated)
  • Protein45.7g
  • Carbohydrates16.2 (5.7 sugar)
  • Salt0.6g

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  • 2 x 1.5kg free-range chickens
  • 50g butter
  • 4 shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • Pinch of chilli flakes
  • 150g couscous
  • 250ml vegetable stock, hot
  • 25g dried soured cherries
  • 50g dried apricots, chopped
  • 25g pine nuts, toasted
  • Large handful each fresh flatleaf parsley and mint, chopped
  • 6 spring onions, finely chopped


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan160°C/gas 4. Pat the chickens dry with kitchen paper and place them side by side in a large roasting tin.
  2. Heat half the butter in a large saucepan, add the shallots and cook gently for 4-5 minutes, until tender. Stir in the garlic, spices and chilli, and cook for a further minute. Stir through the couscous and toss well until coated in the buttery spice mix. Pour over the stock and add the cherries and apricots. Turn off the heat, cover, and stand for 10 minutes until the liquid has been absorbed.
  3. Stir through the pine nuts, herbs and spring onions with a fork to break up the couscous. Season with a little salt and lots of black pepper. Spoon into the body cavity of each bird, then tie up the legs with string to secure.
  4. Spread the remaining butter over the chickens and sprinkle with lots of black pepper and a little salt. Roast for 1 hour, until the chickens are golden and cooked through.
  5. To serve, scoop the couscous onto warmed serving plates, carve the chickens and serve along with the pan juices and the pea salad and crushed new potatoes.
  • Go for a soft, smooth, ripe and perfumed red. A premium New Zealand Pinot Noir is the best choice.

From April 2009

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