moro’s roast chicken with preserved lemon

i decided to use my chicken to make the casa moro roast chicken with preserved lemon, as suggested by lillyanne. i also made a preserved lemon and broad bean pilaf to go with it.

the chicken itself was fabulous – i’ve been put off buying chicken recently as no matter how careful i am about sourcing them the birds often look like they have bruises or freezer burn which makes me worried about the way they were kept and killed (i’m sure there is a proper way of describing this but my mind has gone blank!).

anyway, the able & cole chicken wasa nice colour, non-bruised and tasted delicious. i also loved the fact that it came complete with giblets which meant we had great gravy and i treated myself to devilled chicken liver on toast for brunch the following day.

the moro marinade – garlic, lemon, cumin and sweet paprika – gave the chicken a fabulous flavour and really lifted the meal out of a gloomy chilly london and towards somewhere more mediterranean and springlike. i liked it a lot – thanks for the suggestion lillyanne!

moro’s roast chicken with preserved lemon (serves 4)

1 medium chicken, c1.5kg

freshly ground black pepper

1 tabelspoon olive oil, for the roasting tin

100ml water*


2 medium or 3 small preserved lemons (i used 3 belazu lemons)

juice of ½ a lemon (keep the squeezed lemon half)

2 garlic cloves, crushed to a paste with salt

3 tablespoons coriander, roughly chopped

1 teaspoon cumin seeds, roughly ground

1 teaspoon sweet paprika

2 tablespoons olive oil

wash the preserved lemons, halve and discard the inside pulp. put the lemon skins and the rest of the marinade ingredients into a food processor or large mortar and work until you have a smooth paste. smear this mix all over the chicken, season lightly with pepper and stuff the lemon half into the body cavity. place in the fridge and leave to marinate for 6 hours, or overnight.

preheat the oven to 180c and place the chicken in the oiled roasting tin. roast for 1¼ hours, basting every now and then. if the marinade starts to burn cover the chicken loosely with a piece of foil. after about an hour check the chicken by piercing the leg with a skewer or sharp knife. if the juices run clear it is ready, if they are pink continue cooking. transfer the chicken to a board and leave to relax for 10 minutes, loosely covered in foil.

meanwhile, make some gravy. pour off any excess oil from the pan, place the tin over a medium heat. add the water (or wine) and bring to a gentle simmer. add any juices

empty the inner juices from the chicken and scrape up any caramelised bits in the tin and check for seasoning. if the gravy is too strong add more water (i added the juice of the other lemon half at this stage).

serve with rice, couscous, potatoes or salad.

* i used wine, a too-sweet rose that i’m working my way through as a cooking wine