329 – Simple Roast Chicken Recipe / وصفة الدجاج المشوي البسيطة
- 1 whole medium size chicken (2 pounds / 1 kg)
- 1 lemon + salt (to wash the chicken)
- 4 tablespoons (60 grams) butter (softened)
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- A pinch of saffron threads (optional)
- 1 small preserved lemon (or 1/2 a lemon)
- A large bunch of cilantro
- 1 onion (sliced)
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 lemon (sliced)
Step 1: Cleaning the Chicken
1- First, let me show you how to clean chicken Moroccan style. My grandmother squeezes fresh lemon juice on it and scrubs with the lemon halves.
2- She also adds salt on top of the chicken and scrubs it really well.
3- Finally, wash the chicken with fresh water. My grandmother swears by this method to remove the weird ‘chicken’ after taste that you get sometimes.
4- Very important, wipe the chicken with a paper towel to make sure that it’s dry – so we get that crispy roasted skin!
Step 2: Cutting the Chicken
1- Using a sharp knife, cut the bone at the very bottom of the leg. You are not going to eat that bone!
2- Now, place the chicken breast-side down, and back-side up.Cut along one side of the spine, from the neck to the butt. Then cut along the other side. Cut the skin around the neck, and remove the spine. You are basically removing the neck, spine, and chicken butt.
3- Flip the chicken, breast-side up – and push with both hands into the middle of the breast to flatten the chicken. You will hear the bones cracking, that’s a good sign. We want to make the chicken flat so that it roasts evenly.
4- Finally, we are going to do a few knife cuts along the joins for the areas that take longer to cook. First make a cut in the thigh joins then make a cut below the wing joins connected to the breast.
Step 3: Marinating the Chicken
1- We need softened butter. Add ground turmeric, ground ginger, salt, pepper, and a pinch of saffron. If you don’t have saffron you can skip it. Mix all these goodies together.
Add the finely chopped cilantro. Mix well.
2- Fit the butter mixture between the skin and the meat of the chicken. It’s basically a layer of fat that will keep the chicken moist while roasting. Make sure you fill all the places you can, then whatever is left of the butter mixture, use it as a rub all over the chicken.
3- Let me show you my secret ingredient! Preserved lemon!!! YUM! If you don’t have it you can use a regular lemon… but nothing can replace preserved lemon. Just cut it into small pieces, then place it underneath the skin of the chicken.
Step 4: Baking the Chicken
1- Le’ts prepare out baking pan. First place the sliced onion, then the cilantro branches, then the lemon slices, fresh garlic pieces, and finally our chicken breast side up.
2- To the oven, which I preheated to 440 F / 230 C – yes, it’s very hot, but it’s fine.
3- Bake for around 40-45 minutes or until done. To check if the chicken is done, stick a knife in the thickest part of the leg and press down to see if the juices run clear. If the juices are pink, then it needs more cooking.
Step 5: Making the Sauce
1- Remove the chicken from the baking pan, place in a plate, and cover with foil.
2- Then remove the cilantro sticks and lemon slices from the pan as well.
3- Take all the goodies, onions, garlic, chicken juice, and place it in a pot.
4- Cook on high heat for around 5 minutes until the juices reduce and you get a thick nice sauce.
5- Serve the chicken right away topped with the sauce… YUM!