Foolproof roast chicken & cous cous salad

On the fridge all year - Miss Fruitarian's 'to do' list for 2011

Each year I have a ‘to do’ list. You know, a list of things that I’d like to master in the coming year. Important stuff like “make choux pastry” and “be thankful every day”. Miss Fruitarian jumped on the bandwagon this year and has done well on her list, which included ‘get a kitten’ and ‘skip to 100’.

My list was blown out of the water by a house purchase, house sale, house move and job change (husband). I’m still catching my breath, and actually can’t even remember what was on my list for this year, let alone WHERE the piece of paper might actually be.

So with the year hurtling to a close, it’s lucky that my list in 2007 included ‘cook a perfect roast chicken’ – you know, where the vegies and meat are all cooked perfectly and AT THE SAME TIME. It’s a skill that comes in handy during the festive season.

Just in case you’ve got the chicken cooking thing on the list for next year, here’s a recipe that will cut you a bit of slack – a roast chook with a cous cous salad that is SO delicious and suited to hot Australian nights.

This cous cous salad is the best I’ve tried – it’s based on a recipe from Ainsley Harriott’s Barbeque Bible. It’s his spice combination and cooking method, which seems to produce perfectly fluffy cous cous. I’ve just added in a stack of vegies (of course).

Do my kids eat this salad with all the green flecks and pumpkin (their least favourite) bits? Surprisingly yes. The first time I made it, I thought they wouldn’t, which really vouches for how yummy it is. I do have to cut up Mr M&P’s chicken and mix it through as a lure, and Miss F does gag if she hits a chunk of coriander, but apart from that it disappears.

Now, if only I could get my kids to eat with their cutlery properly and have some vague semblance of table manners, I’d be feeling pretty accomplished. I guess I better put it on the ‘to do’ list for next year.

Fancy enough for the festive season, methinks.


Roast chicken with a delicious cous cous salad

1×1.8kg chicken
1 lemon, halved
Olive oil
Salt & pepper

¼ cup pinenuts

2 cups pumpkin (Jap is good), peeled and cut into a 1cm dice.
2 tsps honey
1 clove garlic, minced
½ tsp coriander powder
½ tsp cumin powder
½ tsp sweet paprika
¾ cup cous cous
¾ cup chicken stock
Pinch saffron (optional)
4 spring onions, finely chopped
1 carrot, peeled, grated
½ red capsicum, finely diced
Handful fresh herbs (any combination of mint, parsley & coriander)
Juice ½ lemon (plus the zest if you can be bothered)

Preheat the oven to 170C fan-forced. Have a rack down low (for the chook) and one up high (for the pumpkin).

Don’t be squeamish and don’t think about how a wee chicken carcass feels vaguely like holding a baby… Wash the whole chook well. Use paper towel to dry it both inside and out. Place a rack in a roasting tray then pop the chicken on top (breast side down). Pour about ¼ cup of water and the juice of half a lemon in the tray. Shove the squeezed half and the full half of lemon inside the birdie. Close up the legs (a girl’s gotta have some dignity), drizzle over olive oil & salt & pepper.

Roast in the oven for about 40 minutes. Meanwhile…

Pour your dry cous cous into a heat-proof bowl.

In a small non-stick pan, toast your pinenuts and set aside. Add about one tablespoon of olive oil to the pan, then fry off the garlic, coriander, cumin & paprika for a minute or so. Pour in the chicken stock. Add the saffron (if using) and the spring onions (this takes the onion tang out of them). Pour into the cous cous bowl. Use a fork to quickly combine, then cover with plastic wrap.

Spread the pumpkin out on an oven tray (lined with baking paper), drizzle over olive oil and honey. Toss lightly.

Pull out your chicken. Turn over (carefully), baste or drizzle a touch more oil. Season. Pop back into the oven & also put in the pumpkin (on the top tray).

Bake everything for about 40-45 minutes, until the pumpkin is soft and the juices of the chicken run clear. (There’s a demo of how about 1:40 into this video – or push a skewer in behind the drumstick then press to see the colour of the juice)

Cover the chicken with foil for a bit while you fork through the cous cous then toss in the rest of the ingredients in. Then carve the chicken (good ‘how to’ video about carving chickens, turkeys etc here), serve and EAT. Yum.

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2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Melissa said,

    Sounds yummy. Will have to try it

  2. 2

    Nicola said,

    Loved the fruitarians wish list… esp “the big arms” comment. ;o)


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