This recipe for Moroccan-spiced roast chicken is a feast for the senses - succulent roast chicken with Middle Eastern flavours of paprika, cumin and cinnamon. Slow roasting makes it extra tender and delicious. Try pairing this roast chicken with a rich gravy and fresh vegetables.
Preheat the oven to gas 4, 180°C, fan 160°C. In a large roasting tin, spread out the onion slices in a single layer. In a bowl, combine the butter with the cinnamon, cumin, paprika, honey and lemon zest; season well.
Put the chicken on a flat surface. Using your hands, gently ease the skin away from the breast and spread half the spiced butter over the flesh.
Press the skin back in place and smooth it out to ensure the butter is evenly distributed. Spread the remaining butter over the chicken (reserving 1 tbsp for the gravy), and then drizzle with the olive oil. Put the lemon halves into the cavity, and then transfer the chicken to the roasting tin, sitting it on the onions, breast-side up.
Loosely tie the legs together with kitchen string, and then deeply score the drumsticks three times using a sharp knife. Pour in 100ml (3 1/2fl oz) of stock, then cover the tin with kitchen foil, sealing the edges. Roast for 1 hour.
Increase the oven temperature to gas 6, 200°C, 180°C. Remove the foil and continue cooking for a further 20 minutes, or until the skin is golden and the juices run clear with no trace of pink when the thickest part of the thigh is pierced with a skewer.
Remove the chicken from the oven and cover loosely with foil. Leave to rest for 20 minutes, then transfer to a chopping board. Keep it covered while you make the gravy.
Spoon the majority of the fat from the roasting tin, leaving behind a generous tablespoonful. Stir the four and reserved butter into the cooked onions and remaining juices.
Put the tin over a high heat and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly. Gradually add the remaining stock and bring to the boil. Simmer for at least 2 minutes, or until thickened. Strain the liquid into a clean pan and keep warm while you carve the bird. Serve the chicken with the gravy and vegetable sides.
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