roast chicken with buttery Moroccan spices

romanesco cauliflower cous cous

roast chicken with buttery Moroccan spices

I really wanted to try something new for my roast chicken yesterday, I tend to always cook it my favourite way with loads of wine, herbs and garlic. I remembered a fabulous recipe that Jenny Morris did on her awesome Food Network TV show ‘Jenny Cooks Morocco‘, so decided to do something along those lines.

I didn’t have the recipe, so knocked it up – thanks to a few hints from Jenny herself on Twitter, and my memory. She used rosemary and coriander but there wasn’t a hope in hell I was going out to the shops yesterday, so I made do with coriander and parsley and popped a few thyme stalks into the pan for good measure.

In the past I have always avoided stuffing vast amounts of butter under the skin of the chicken for fear of calorie overload, but I do know that butter does amazing things to the bird. So I threw caution to the wind and blended up a spicy butter mix packed with flavour and let the oven do the rest.

You may notice that the chicken is pretty big? This is no store-bought number. I bought it from Taste of the Karoo – so this would definitely have contributed to the overall flavour of the roast.

I had 3 small heads of Romanesco cauliflower, so my all-time favourite cauliflower ‘cous-cous‘ it had to be to serve alongside the roast chicken. If you have not yet discovered the magic powers of cauliflower and how it can masquerade as a carb, you need to check this out. I added a tablespoon or two of my own home-made preserved lemons (the jar is about 2 years old now), a few pinches of smoked chilli, and instead of olive oil I used my smoked red pepper infused olive oil to pan fry the cauliflower ‘grains’. Finished off with a handful of toasted pine nuts and a few sprigs of coriander its practically a meal on its own.

What would a Sunday roast chicken be without roast potatoes, so I made my ‘best ever roast potatoes’ but used sunflower oil instead of duck fat, and the final side dish was a bowl of steamed zucchini lightly tossed in top quality extra virgin olive oil, Maldon salt and black pepper. So simple, but really such a perfect way to eat zucchini.

steamed zucchini with olive oil

*cooks notes ~ the butter stuffed under the skin obviously melts out into the pan during the coking process which means the juices are too fatty to use as a gravy (for me). The upside was super succulent flavoursome meat, the downside no pan juice gravy as it’s a bit too buttery, but you might not mind that.


roast chicken with buttery moroccan spices

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes


  • 1 large free range chicken
  • few sprigs of thyme for the pan (optional) – or rosemary
  • 2 lemons cut in half
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup verjuice or white wine (optional)

Moroccan butter

  • 200g butter (just under 2 sticks)
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1t cumin
  • 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 2 T harissa paste
  • 1 t ginger garlic paste (or grate 1 t fresh ginger)
  • 2 T preserved lemon, finely chopped (mashed)
  • 2 T coriander, parsley, finely chopped
  • pinch of dried chilli flakes


  1. Pre-heat your oven to 180 c / 350 F.
  2. Mix all the butter ingredients together and blend well to form a soft paste.
  3. Gently push your fingers under the skin of the chicken to pull it away from the flesh, do this all over the bird. Stuff pieces of spicy butter under the skin, massaging it into the chicken and smoothing out the lumps. Stuff the rest of the butter in the cavity.
  4. Slice the lemons in half, and place one half in the cavity of the chicken and the others in the pan. Place the chicken in a high sided pan with the fresh herbs, stock and verjuice. Roast for 1.5 – 2 hours (depending on the size of your chicken) until golden brown and cooked through. If you find that the chicken ins browning too much during the cooking, loosely cover it with foil.


  • Serving Size: 1 large chicken

PS: the gorgeous green bowl that I have my ‘cous-cous’ in is from the Jars range and exclusively available at Entrepo. They do online orders for all their merchandise too.

roast chicken with buttery Moroccan spices

I look forward to connecting with you again in the future.

Visit my Drizzle and Dip Facebook page to get updates of all my posts.

I can also be found enthusiastically pinning beautiful food images on Pinterest, and snapping pics of my life in Cape Town and what I eat on Instagram


  1. This looks so delicious! I love to make cauliflower “rice”, too. Do you keep your preserved lemons in the fridge or freezer once they’re ready? I made a small batch, but left the jar out after using some of them and they went bad.

  2. Sam

    Hi Becky, I made my lemons over 2 years ago and left them out with the jar sealed. I have been dipping into them but have still left them out and they have not gone bad at all. I think they are so well preserved now. Perhaps if they are to ‘young’ they need to be put in the fridge. If anything the fridge, definitely not the freezer.

  3. Oh wow, that looks amazing. Definitely want to try this as I tend to stick to the same lemon, garlic, herb flavours, so nice to try something different. And I HAVE to try this “couscous”!

  4. Michael Olivier

    Stuning stunning pics Sam and a lovely story. Clever person! Big hugs, Mxx

  5. Stunning roast chicken and I love your choice of sides – both the “cous cous” and potatoes sound (and look!) like the best ever.

  6. I could do a whole plate of roast tatoe’s the ultimate comfort food in winter Yummy … Will give your roastie recipe a bash. 🙂
    Thanks Mills

  7. Stunning! My friend one borught me back some spiced sauces from morocco and I have hooked on these flavours ever since. So pretty and inviting, I would love to be seated at your dinner table

  8. Sam

    Thanks Belinda 🙂 – I fell in love with Moroccan flavours a few years back, particularly with cumin (add it to so much) and preserved lemons are a staple in my house.

  9. Sam

    Thanks Katherine, I’m rather obsessed with my cauli ‘cous-cous’ these days, literally can eat a whole head on my own in one sitting. I loved the green of the Romanesco….. and as soon as I see a purple cauliflower in store I will be making that too 🙂

Write A Comment

Recipe rating