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Chicken Stuffed with Couscous, Almonds, and Raisins

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Posted to Thread #24601 at 8:09 pm on Jul 1, 2013

Chicken Stuffed with Couscous, Almonds, and Raisins
Djej mahshe bil skesu
From the North African Cookbook by Tess Mallos

Traca's note: Outstanding! Chicken is flavorful and incredibly moist.

When Moroccan cuisine was developing, a whole chicken was usually steamed over water, as domestic ovens were unknown. Oven-cooking is now becoming more common, and it does improve the flavor of this delicious dish. The following method is a combination of roasting and steaming, which gives succulent, moist chicken full of flavor. Normally the stuffing makes use of leftover couscous from previous meal; if you do have leftover couscous, use 1 1/4 cups cooked couscous, omitting the boiling water-salt-butter mixture used in the stuffing ingredients.

Serves 4
Cooking time: 2 1/4 hours

3 1/2 pound roasting chicken
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup water
2 tablespoons butter, softened

For couscous stuffing:
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup couscous
1/2 cup whole blanched almonds
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon paprika
freshly-ground black pepper

Clean chicken cavity if necessary, rinse and dry with paper towels then season cavity with salt and pepper. (I lift the skin and salt and pepper there too, concentrating on the breast.)

To make couscous stuffing: Place raisins in a small heatproof bowl and add enough boiling water to barely cover. Let stand until plump, about 10 minutes. Combine 1/2 cup water, half of butter and salt to taste in a saucepan, bring to a boil then remove from heat. Stir in couscous, cover and let stand, until water is absorbed, about 10 minutes.

Melt remaining butter in a frying pan, add almonds and cook until golden-brown, about 2 minutes. Add butter, sugar, cinnamon, paprika, pepper to taste, and drained raisins. Stir to incorporate, then tip into couscous. Mix thoroughly and fluff lightly with a fork.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Pack chicken cavity loosely with stuffing, close opening with poultry skewers and tie legs together with string. Tuck wing tips under body and secure neck skin with a poultry skewer. Season with salt, pepper, and paprika. Place breast-side up in a baking pan and pour in water. Spread softened butter over chicken and bake until cooked, basting often, about 2 hours. To test if chicken is cooked, pushed a leg toward the breast; chicken is cooked when leg moves easily.

Transfer chicken to a warm platter, cover with aluminium foil and let rest in a warm place for 10 minutes. Pour pan juices over chicken, if desired. Serve with couscous stuffing.

You can't do anything about the length of your life, but you can do
something about its depth. - M

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