The other day, I was lucky enough to be able to buy an enormous organic chicken from the supermarket, which was marked down to £4 as it happened to be short-date. I immediately chopped the legs off and shoved them in the freezer for future use, and then turned my attention to the rest of the chicken. Technically not a crown (it still had the wings attached), I decided to roast it as if it were. You can do this with a whole bird too, should you so desire.
With a crown, there’s a slight risk of the breasts drying out, hence my slightly over-zealous (but damned delicious) method of breast-moistening. Not only did this produce superior chicken, but some of the best damned cous cous I’ve tasted in a bloody long time. Even if you don’t eat it as ‘stuffing’ with the bird, it’s worth making anyway to accompany salad during the week. I wish I’d thought to get a photo of my lovely chicken before it was sliced – it was beautiful. I’ve got one of dinner on our plates, but it’s just not the same somehow. So instead, make do with a photo of a lemon and some thyme 🙂
Cous Cous Stuffed Lemon Chicken
1 whole chicken or chicken crown
Unsalted butter, softened
3 fresh lemons
Handful fresh thyme leaves
A few fresh sage leaves
A little dried rosemary
Salt and Pepper
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, sliced
2 eggs, beaten
- Preheat the oven to a medium-high temperature.
- Zest oneof the lemons and chop the zest very finely with the herbs. Mix the herbs and salt and pepper with the butter.
- Separate the skin of the chicken from the meat. Rub the herb butter between the two layers, taking care not to break the skin.
- Finely slice the zested lemon, and push the slices under the buttered skin of the chicken.
- Gently fry the onion, garlic, sunflower seeds and zest of the other lemons in some olive oil until the onion has started to go translucent. In the meantime, juice the lemons.
- When the onion is cooked, remove the pan from the heat and add the lemon juice to warm through. Stir this mixture through the cous cous, adding some hot water if necessary.
- Once the cous cous has steamed through, mix in the eggs and stuff the chicken. Place in a roasting tin in the preheated oven, with any veg you wish to roast. Cook for around 50 minutes – 1 hour, or until the meat juices are clear when poked with a skewer in the thickest part.
- Serve with roast vegetables – we had roast potatoes, parsnips and squash and mashed swede and carrot. Once the carcass has cooled, pick off any meat that remains and stir through the remaining cous cous to eat cold (it’s delicious!). Use the carcass to make stock.