1 Free range chicken (3 pounds), split (see directions below or have butcher split chicken for you)
1 Sweet paprika
1 Kosher salt
3/2 cups Plain yogurt
2 Chopped fresh cilantro
1 Green onion
1/2 lemon juice
1 cup Couscous
1 Small red onion, small dice
3/2 cups Chicken stock, warm
1/4 cup Dried apricots, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup Whole almonds toasted, coarsely chopped
2 Scallions green parts only
1/4 cup Fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped
1/2 Bunch fresh cilantro leaves, roughly chopped plus leaves for garnish
1 Fresh lemon juice
Pinch lemon zest
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Toast spices in a medium saucepan over low heat until fragrant. In a clean spice grinder or coffee grinder, blend spices until fine. Season with kosher salt.
Prepare chicken by splitting it down the back and removing the backbone, breast bone and rib cage. Lay the chicken out flat and rub the blended spices all over. Marinate for up to 4 hours or overnight.
Heat a large cast iron skillet (or other heavy oven-proof pan) over medium-high heat. When hot, add a 2 count of extra virgin olive oil and place the chicken skin-side down in the pan. Cover it with a second cast iron pan (you could also use a more traditional aluminium foil-wrapped brick) immediately so the skin doesn't have time to contract. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 10-15 minutes until chicken is golden brown and has a nice crust. Remove the top weight and turn the chicken over. Re-cover with the top weight and finish cooking in the oven for a further 20-25 minutes. Internal temp between the leg and thigh should reach 165 F when cooked through.
While chicken is cooking, combine cilantro, mint, green onion, yogurt, honey, lemon juice, extra-virgin olive oil, and salt & pepper in a blender. Blend until mixture is fully combined and has a smooth consistency.
Now prepare the couscous. In a medium saucepan add a 2 count of extra-virgin olive oil. Add the red onion, almonds and apricot and sauté gently over low heat until translucent and slightly fragrant. Add the couscous then dump in the warm chicken broth. Stir with a fork to combine add lemon zest and cover. Let sit for 10 minutes, then uncover and fluff with a fork again. Put the green onions, mint, and cilantro on a cutting board and coarsely chop everything up; add this to the couscous. Add lemon juice, drizzle with olive oil, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss gently to combine.
Serve family-style on a large platter and garnish with fresh cilantro.
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