Spiced Roast Chicken

I know the international readers of this blog must roll their eyes every time I mention the weather, but here in Ireland we have good reason to talk about it a lot/constantly. Because it continues to smote us. The weather pretends to be our friend and then quite literally rains on our parade when we really  wanted the parade to be sun-soaked.

I have a lovely recipe waiting to share with you, a chipotle-spiced pork kebab wonder that I whipped up on our summer of 2012. Which happened for a few days around the 25th of May. I don’t usually let it get to me, but for some reason, that tease of a summer has hit me hard this year. We had a wonderful dinner outside in our garden, the smell of the grilled pork driving our puppy Daffodil (who has just started her own blog, natch) demented while we were enamoured by the smell of our Factor 50 protecting our pale and freckly skin, closing our eyes and relishing the heat. It even hit 20 degrees celsius at one point. 20 degrees!

Anyway, the weather has taken a (surprise!) turn for the worse over the last week. So I’m saving my grilled pork recipe for sunnier times and instead I’m going to share this great crossover recipe that I consoled myself with this weekend. I used lovely Moroccan spices to add a bit of kick to our roast chicken and it worked a treat in adding a little heat to our drizzly Irish day.

I used a whole chicken for this recipe and then I used the leftover meat for meals over the following two days, in simple salads and sandwiches. The below recipe serves four or two with lots of lovely leftovers.

What you need for Spiced Roast Chicken

For the chicken

1 whole free-range chicken (around 1.5kg) 

About 100g of butter (a lot, I know. Feel free to use less, I was just being gluttonous.)

1 tablespoon of ground cumin powder

1 tablespoon of ground coriander

1 tablespoon of chilli flakes



For the couscous 

4 medium sized carrots 

200g of chorizo 

250g of couscous

1 tablespoon of harissa paste

1/2 lemon 



For the Harissa Yoghurt

4 tablespoons of natural yoghurt

About a teaspoon of harissa paste

Start by heating your oven to 190C/170C fan/Gas Mark 5.

Place your chicken in a large roasting dish and use your hands to smear the butter all over the skin of the chook. This will make it go beautifully golden. Sprinkle the cumin, coriander and chilli flakes evenly over the chicken. Season generously with salt and pepper and cook in the oven for 1 hour and 20 minutes in total. Every 20 minutes, carefully baste the chicken with the spiced butter that will be swimming around the bird in the dish.

Meanwhile, peel and chop the carrots into bite-sized chunks. Add the chunks to the roasting dish with the chicken for the last 40 minutes of cooking. They will roast in the lovely spiced butter too, making them positively sinful.

Chop up the chorizo into bite-sized chunks and add to the roasting dish for the last 10 minutes of cooking.

Remove the roasting dish from the oven and use a skewer to check that the chicken is cooked through. The juices should run clear. Leave the bird to rest for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, use a slotted spoon to remove the carrots and chorizo from the roasting dish. Drain off some of the excess oil from the butter and chorizo by placing the carrots and chorizo on some kitchen towel.

Make your couscous by adding 250ml of boiling hot water to 250g of couscous in a large bowl. Use a fork to fluff up the couscous immediately, then let it sit and absorb the hot water.

Once fully absorbed, use the fork to mix through the harissa paste and the juice of half a lemon. Season with salt and pepper and finally add the carrots and chorizo.

Mix together the yoghurt and harissa to make a little yoghurt-based gravy.

Serve the roast chicken in slices with a heaped bunch of couscous and the harissa yoghurt. And if you’re in Ireland, you can close your eyes and pretend it’s not raining :)


I do apologise about giving out about the weather. It really does no one any good. The weather didn’t dampen our spirits too much at last weekend’s Forbidden Fruit festival in Dublin city. The highlight of which for me was Chairlift, followed in close second by Grimes. Have a listen to Amanaemonesia below from the band’s most recent album Something.

Categories: Dinner


  1. This looks scrumptious Aoife. Know what you mean about the weather, it’s 10′c here today and absolutely pouring with rain – miserable for this time of year.

    • Same. It doesn’t make any difference to complain about it but it does kind of make you feel better sometimes. Really awful day here today too! Hopefully it’ll clear up sometime in June :)

  2. Excellent looking chicken. I have two barbecue posts cooked, shot, written and waiting for things to turn a bit for the better. As I type this, it is bucketing down. My eldest spent three days standing on a box working a till at the Forbidden Fruit. She hardly noticed the music, it was that busy.

    • I guess we should just go ahead and post the recipes, not much point waiting around for the weather, is there? But still, it just seems sad to post BBQ weather when the BBQ is flooded :( Anyway, we’ll survive!

  3. Hopefully we’ll see a little improvement in the weather soon. I don’t think it could get much worse than this week! That chicken looks and sounds totally delicious. :)

    • I’m sure we will. I don’t usually give out about it because what is the point? It doesn’t change anything. I just let it get to me this year for some reason :) The chicken will definitely be making a reappearance in our kitchen this summer, even if the sun doesn’t!

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