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I do love a spatchcocked chicken. Today we sampled a particularly good one, just perfect for these bright and summery evenings. I think the weekly roast with all of the trimmings has well and truly taken a back seat now for the coming months, making way for much lighter creations. It’s such a pleasure too, having the option to dine inside or out. You never know how long good weather will last in England, so we’re making hay…as they say.

This dish was taken from a book which focuses on cuisine from France, Italy, Morocco and Spain – ‘The Food of the Mediterranean’ by Bay/Murdoch Books. It’s full of hearty fare and a great point of reference for an array of dishes from around the med. In the book, this chicken recipe is referred to as ‘Spiced Grilled Chicken’, however, we didn’t grill the meat and opted for roasting instead (due to the sheer size of the bird). Dan chose to team it with a wonderfully textured couscous and a side of pitta and houmous.

To make our version of this chicken (serves four) you will need:
– One 1.9kg chicken (spatchcocked)
– One teaspoon of sea salt
– Two cloves of garlic (chopped)
– One and a half teaspoons of paprika
– Two teaspoons of ground cumin
– Half a teaspoon of black pepper
– One tablespoon of lemon juice
– Three tablespoons of olive oil

Method:
– Firstly smash the garlic and salt into a paste in a pestle and mortar. Work in the rest of the ingredients until fully combined.
– Spread over the spatchcocked chicken evenly and place in a baking tray. Cover with cling film, refrigerate and leave to marinate for at least three hours.

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– Preheat the oven to gas mark 5/190C and cook for an hour and a half, or until the juices run clear.
– When ready, carve and serve immediately (making sure that everyone has a generous helping of the glorious crispy skin!)

To make the couscous (serves four) you will need:
– 250g of couscous
– 400ml of boiled water
– Juice of half a lemon
– A handful of green olives
– One roasted yellow bell pepper (deseeded and torn)
– A handful of cherry tomatoes (halved)
– Two spring onions (finely chopped)
– EV olive oil (to taste)
– Salt and black pepper (to taste)

Method:
– Place the couscous in a lidded dish and add the water. Fork it through and leave to stand for ten minutes, making sure the lid is on.
– Fork through the remaining ingredients plus the EV olive oil to taste.
– Season to taste and serve alongside the chicken.

My favourite part of the whole plate was the lovely, tasty crispy skin on the chicken. Full of flavour with a subtle kick from the paprika. The couscous was also a joy to eat with the medley of textures provided by the olives, cherry tomatoes, peppers and spring onions. I’m not usually mad over the stuff, but with a few added ingredients, it can become both interesting and vibrant.

All in all, a fantastic summer supper…and perfect all crammed into a slightly warmed pitta…dipped into a nice portion of houmous!

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