Recipes - Ras al Hanout Chicken with Almond Crust
This dish serves quite a few people, but it is worth making this amount as it will disappear quickly, and any leftovers can be eaten the next day. It is a little fussy to make but it is worth the effort for the amazing end result that is certain to impress dinner guests.
Remove all excess fat from the chicken cavity, neck and tail area. Rub all over with salt and pepper. Let them sit for 1 hour. Rinse and drain well. Roast the saffron in a dry frying pan until aromatic, approximately 10 seconds. Crumble the saffron, and soak in 2 tablespoons of hot water. Let it sit for 20 minutes.
Combine the soaked saffron with the cinnamon, ginger, Ras al Hanout, salt and pepper. Rub saffron mixture over the chicken and under the skin.
Sweat the onions in butter in a very large pan until translucent. Put the chickens on top and add water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 40 minutes. Baste the chicken every 10 minutes, adding more water if necessary.
While the chicken is cooking, prepare the filling. Heat the 1/4 cup of oil in a saucepan. Add the almonds, fry until golden brown, stirring constantly to ensure even browning. Drain well on paper towels, cool and roughly chop. Combine the almonds, caster sugar, cinnamon, Ras al Hanout, the orange flower water, water and lemon juice to make a mixture. Season well with salt and pepper.
Once the chickens have cooked, place them on a rack to drain. Degrease the sauce and reduce it to 2 cups. Add the Preserved Lemon peel to the sauce. Pour the sauce in the bottom of an oven proof serving dish large enough to hold both chickens. Cut the chickens in to breasts and thighs, removing the bones from the breasts. The chickens should be slightly under-cooked. Place a handful of filling on the underside of each piece of chicken and place the chickens skin side up on top of the sauce. Spread the remaining almond mixture evenly over the chickens, making sure all parts are covered. In a preheated 190C oven, bake the chickens 20 minutes, or until the almonds brown and the sauce simmers.
While the chicken is baking, combine the lemon segments, parsley, olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Remove the chicken from the oven, sprinkle with the lemon mixture including the juices, and serve immediately.
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