Where’s all the snow? It’s mid-January and our grapevines are sporting only a dusting of the white stuff. Good enough for me- I’m happy to consider it a snow day and stay home and cook. Here’s a great cold weather recipe with deep flavors that will warm you and transport you to an exotic place. I think our Cabernet Franc Merlot is the perfect red to pair with this dish. Red wine with chicken you may ask? Yes! Our CFM is earthy and soft with notes of dark fruit – it marries beautifully with the dried fruits and complex Moroccan flavors in this dish. I used 100% organic Ras el Hanout spice blend from Teeny Tiny Spice Co. of Vermont- a small, local, family run business offering exotic spice blends based on cuisines around the world. Enjoy! -Lisa
Moroccan Roast Chicken Stuffed with Couscous
Couscous Stuffing: 1 1/4 cup couscous 1 cup hot water ¼ cup dried dates, (chopped) ¼ cup dried cranberries (chopped) (dried figs, apricots and raisins work well too) 2 tsp. coriander 2 tsp. cumin 1 tsp. cinnamon 2 Tbsp. olive oil 1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted 2 Tbsp. honey Salt and pepper
1 3lb. chicken (local option: Misty Knoll) 4 Tbsp. butter, softened 2 cloves garlic, crushed 2 Tbsp. Ras el Hanout (local option: Teeny, Tiny Spice Co.) 1 Tbsp. Paprika 1 Tbsp. honey 1 Preserved lemon, halved (optional) Chicken stock
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Start with couscous in a large bowl. Bring 1 cup water to a boil, then add to the couscous, stirring with a fork until fluffy and all water is absorbed. Stir in dried fruits and spices. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside to cool.
Rinse and dry chicken and place in a roasting pan. Stuff the cavity of the chicken with the cooled couscous mixture and preserved lemon, if using, and tie the legs together. Make a compound butter by mixing the Ras el Hanout, paprika and garlic into the softened butter. Spread the butter mixture all over the chicken. Drizzle the chicken with honey and season with salt and pepper. Add 1/3 cup of chicken stock to the bottom of the pan.
Place in pre-heated oven and roast the chicken, basting occasionally and adding small amounts of stock to the pan when needed. Roast until golden brown, about 1- 1 ½ hours. Transfer chicken to a carving board and let rest about 15 minutes before slicing. Serve with couscous, pan juices and SV CabFranc Merlot.
Shelburne Vineyard grapevines with a dusting of snow.