Moroccan roast chicken with apricots can be barbecued or oven cooked, with a sweet, fruity accompaniment perfect for those hot sunny days.
- 2 small chicken
- 6 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small bunch coriander
- 2 tbsp sumac see tip, below
- 1 tbsp cumin seed
- 1 tbsp fennel seeds
- 2 tsp chilli flakes
- 2 garlic clove
- 2 lemons zest and juiced
- 4 tbsp pomegranate molasses
- 250 g natural yogurt mixed with 1-2 pinches saffron, to serve
For the apricots
- 12 apricots halved and stoned
- 2 preserved lemons rinsed, seeds removed, finely chopped
- 3 tbsp clear honey
- 1 tbsp orange blossom water
- 4 tbsp white wine vineg
- Spatchcock the chickens – see tip, below, or ask your butcher to do it for you. Put the olive oil, coriander, sumac, cumin, fennel, chilli, garlic, lemon zest and juice, pomegranate molasses and some ground black pepper into a food processor or blender, and whizz to a paste. Divide between 2 large food bags, add a chicken to each, then squeeze out the air and seal before giving everything a good squelch to coat thoroughly. Marinate for 24-48 hrs in the fridge, turning and squishing every so often.
- Fire up a barbecue and let the flames die down, or heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas Lift the chicken out of the bags and season well with salt. Barbecue or roast the chicken for 25-30 mins on each side until crisp and cooked through. Set aside on a platter, loosely cover with foil, to rest while you do the apricots. If you roasted rather than barbecued, keep the tin juices warm for serving.
- Put the apricots in a small, snug roasting tin. Whisk the preserved lemon, honey, orange blossom and vinegar with some seasoning. Pour over the apricots and roast, or sit on the barbecue, for 20 mins until soft.
- Serve the chicken with any cooking juices, the apricots and saffron yogurt.
- To spatchcock, lay the chicken breast-side down and cut with kitchen scissors along either side of the backbone, removing it. Flip the chicken over, open out like a book and press to an even thickness with your hands.