Chermoula Chicken

This Moroccan preparation is ideal for chicken you want to cook on the barbeque. Butterflying the bird means it lies flat on the griddle and cooks at an even rate. It’s easy to do at home yourself honestly! The chermoula, a classic Moorish combination of fragrant ingredients, lends a sweet flavour and tantalising cooking aroma which in my case spread around all the neighbouring gardens in my street. The chicken was beautifully charred and succulent – perfect for a beautiful spring evening in Sydney.

1.5-2kg chicken

For the Chermoula:
1 cup fresh flat leaf parsley (stalks and leaves)
1 cup fresh coriander (stalks and leaves)
1 small red onion (roughly chopped)
4 garlic cloves (roughly chopped)
½ preserved lemon (flesh removed, skin chopped)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
large pinch cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon harissa paste
⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil

To butterfly the chicken, turn it to have the back bone facing up. With a pair of kitchen scissors, cut down through the thin bones on one side of the centre bone all the way down the bird. Repeat the process down the other side of the backbone then throw away the back bone. Now to remove the breast bone (keel bone). Open the bird to reveal the inside – you’ll notice a small white mound about 5cm down from the neck of the bird. Press a paring knife into the middle to cut through. Prise open the bird where you cut and you reveal a dark grey plate – slide your fingers in and follow the bone downwards, either side, then lift out the breast bone. Easy! Trim off the excess fat from the top and bottom then set the chicken aside.

To make the chermoula:
Place all the ingredients into a food processor and blend into a semi-fine paste. Rub this paste all over the chicken. Use your fingers to get under the skin all over the bird. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, overnight is even better.

Heat a barbecue until hot, then cook the bird, turning regularly for 45 minutes until well cooked. Leave to rest for 10 minutes before serving:

I served mine with a medley of roasted vegetables and a simple rocket salad.

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