Chicken and Fall Vegetables with Moroccan Flavors
A quartet of familiar spices lend the striking flavors of Morocco to this complete meal in one. Purchased baklava would be the perfect dish to serve for dessert.
- 1 chicken, about 5 lb. (2.5 kg)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 Tbs. plus 1 1/2 tsp. sweet paprika
- 1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
- 3/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 lemon
- 5 Tbs. (3 fl. oz./ 80 ml) olive oil
- 2 small orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, unpeeled (about 3/4 lb./375 g total weight)
- 1 lb. (500 g) cauliflower, cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) florets
- 1 red onion, cut into 8 wedges
Preheat an oven to 450°F (230°C). Grease a large, heavy rimmed baking sheet.
Pull out and discard the fat and giblets from the main cavity in the chicken. Pat the chicken very dry with paper towels. Starting at the edge of the main cavity, slide a finger under the skin over each breast half, making pockets. Rub 1 Tbs. salt all over the chicken and in the main cavity. Sprinkle generously with black pepper. Tie the legs together, if desired.
In a small bowl, mix the paprika, cumin, red pepper flakes and cinnamon. Set aside 2 1/2 tsp. of the spice mixture for the vegetables. Finely grate the zest from the lemon, cut the lemon into quarters and mix the zest into the remaining spices. Gradually mix in 2 Tbs. of the olive oil to make a paste. Spread a little of the paste inside the main cavity and under the skin over the breasts; rub the rest of the paste all over the outside of the chicken. Insert the lemon quarters into the main cavity. Place the chicken in the center of the prepared pan. Place the chicken in the oven and roast for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, cut the sweet potatoes in half crosswise; quarter each piece lengthwise, forming wedges. Combine the sweet potatoes, cauliflower and onion in a bowl. Add the remaining 3 Tbs. oil and toss to coat. Add the reserved spice mixture. Sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper, and toss to coat.
After the chicken has roasted for 30 minutes, remove it from the oven. Tilt the baking sheet and spoon off most of the fat. Arrange the chicken in the center of the pan and spoon the vegetables around the bird. Return the pan to the oven and continue roasting until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a thigh registers 165°F (74°C), about 40 minutes longer. (Note: the bird will take longer to roast if the legs have been tied together.) If the skin is getting too dark, reduce the oven temperature to 425°F (220°C).
Transfer the chicken to a warmed platter and let rest for 10 minutes. Carve the chicken and serve immediately with the vegetables. Serves 4.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Weeknight Fresh & Fast, by Kristine Kidd (Weldon Owen, 2011)