- 4 large lemons
- 2 cups (370 g) couscous
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 litre hot chicken or turkey stock, preferably homemade
- ⅔ cup (120 g) dried apricots, chopped
- ⅓ cup (20 g) chopped fresh mint1 chicken, about 2 kg, without giblets
- 150 ml dry sherry
- salt and pepper
- sprigs of fresh mint to serve
- Halve the lemons lengthwise and squeeze the juice into a jug.
- Pull the membranes and pulp from each lemon half to leave a clean shell.
- Cut a thin slice off the base of each shell so that it can stand.
- Set aside.
- Place the couscous in a bowl.
- Add 4 tablespoons of the lemon juice, the spices, 3 cups (750 ml) of the stock, the apricots and mint, and mix well.
- Leave to soak for 10 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C.
- Place the chicken on a rack in a medium–sized roasting pan and pour over 150 ml hot water.
- When the couscous is ready, use a spoon to stuff some of it into the neck end of the chicken (do not pack it in too firmly).
- Secure the skin flap underneath the bird with the wing tips.
- Spoon 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice over the bird.
- Cover the chicken loosely with oiled foil and roast for 1½ hours.
- Baste the chicken occasionally and remove the foil for the last 30 minutes of cooking to allow the skin to brown.
- Test the chicken by pushing a metal skewer or thin knife into the thickest part of the thigh; the juices should run clear.
- If they are still pink, continue to roast the bird, testing every 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, fill the lemon halves with couscous.
- Spread the rest of the couscous in a small ovenproof dish and sit the filled lemon halves on top.
- Cover loosely with foil and place in the oven for the last 20 minutes of the chicken’s roasting time, to heat through.
- Remove the chicken from the pan and leave it to rest for 10 minutes.
- Skim all the fat from the surface of the juices in the pan, then add the sherry and remaining 150 ml stock.
- Bring to the boil on the stove, scraping up the browned bits.
- Boil for 5 minutes.
- Carve the chicken and serve with the couscous–filled lemons, garnished with mint sprigs, the extra couscous and the pan sauce.
Preparation: 20 minutes, plus 10 minutes soaking
Cooking: about 1½ hours