Roasted Moroccan Chicken with Butternut Squash Purée
After double-header birthday celebrations for Scott last Thursday and Friday, by Saturday I was beat. Getting out of bed was a challenge, let alone the thought of preparing a meal! However, for a few weeks now I’ve been a broken record during grocery store trips, telling Scott I wanted to roast a whole chicken. So the time had finally come and aside from making a tasty rub- roasting a chicken is pretty easy. The other reason I was so eager to do this is because during the week I rarely have the time or energy to prepare meals and having extra cooked chicken in the fridge is perfect for throwing into salads, sandwiches or just warming up with some frozen veggies. Furthermore, the bones from our 8 pounder would grant us a ton of homemade chicken soup (stay tuned for that post!).
I found a Bon Appétit recipe on Epicurious for a Moroccan roasted chicken that sounded perfect. The only snag was the need for ras-el-hanout, which is a Moroccan spice blend usually consisting of coriander, cumin, turmeric, cloves, cinnamon, chili, nutmeg and pepper. I could’ve easily put this together myself, however we also found a tin of Moroccan spice from Dean & Deluca in our cabinet which worked perfectly!
Roasted Chicken with Moroccan Spices (we doubled the recipe because we used a larger bird)
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 4 tablespoons Hungarian sweet paprika
- 2 tablespoon ras-el-hanout*
- 2 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
- 2 tablespoon salt
- 4 teaspoons grated lemon peel
- 2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 garlic clove, peeled
- 8 pound whole chicken
- 2 large whole lemons, pierced all over with fork
- 6 garlic cloves, unpeeled
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 400°F. Blend first 9 ingredients in blender to moist paste.
Remove neck, giblets, and excess fat from main cavity of chicken. Rinse chicken inside and out; pat dry with paper towels. Rub 1/3 of spice paste into main cavity and neck cavity, then rub remaining spice paste all over outside of chicken. Place lemons and garlic cloves in main cavity of chicken. Tie legs together. Place chicken on rack in roasting pan. Roast 45 minutes; tent with foil to prevent overbrowning. Continue to roast chicken (and add squash to the oven-see below) until instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 165°F, about another 1 hour 20 minutes. Transfer chicken to platter; let stand 10 minutes (internal temperature will increase by 5 to 10 degrees).
Make the Butternut Squash Purée
Peel and cube one butternut squash. Place in baking dish, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, onion powder, nutmeg and hot red pepper. Toss to coat. Put in the 400°F oven with the chicken and let roast for about 1 hour- until soft. Transfer to a food processor and purée until smooth, adding 1 TBSP heavy cream if desired. Add salt to taste.
Serve chicken and squash drizzled with pan juices, or create a gravy by reducing the juices in a saucepan with flour or corn starch to thicken. Enjoy!