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The Deglet Nour dates shine best when cooked in chutneys, desserts or in a variety of North African dishes such as this succulent whole roast chicken. The chicken is cooked alongside a fluffy couscous used to absorb all the sweetness of the dates as well as the butteriness of the toasted almonds. For the best flavor Deglet Nours, seek out those that are soft and light-colored; supermarket Deglet Nours are often hard and dark brown due to being kept beyond their natural ripeness.
- 4 tablespoons olive oil (extra-virgin)
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice (fresh)
- ½ teaspoon ginger (ground)
- ½ teaspoon black pepper (ground)
- Fine sea salt
- 1 large whole chicken, roughly 4 pounds
- 2 cups couscous (non-instant)
- 3 tablespoons butter
- ½ cup almonds (sliced)
- ½ cup dates (slivered)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon (ground)
- 2 tablespoons orange blossom water (optional)
- 2 tablespoons honey
- Either chopped mint, parsley or cilantro, or opt for a combination of the three (for garnish)
- Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Using a large oven safe dish, or a pot with a lid, combine 2 tablespoons olive oil, the ginger, the lemon juice, the pepper and 1 teaspoon of salt. Add the chicken and rub it around until the mixture is evenly covering the chicken. Next, place the chicken breast side down for roasting, uncovered, for approximately 50 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine couscous, 2 cups water and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Set aside for 5 to 15 minutes to soak.
- In a small skillet, melt the butter. Add almonds and cook, whilst stirring continually, until they’re toasted and golden; adjust the heat to ensure the almonds and butter don’t scorch. Turn the heat off and stir in the dates.
- Along with any butter left in pan, add the almond-date mixture to couscous and mix, gently fluffing the grains with a fork. Mix in 2 tablespoons olive oil, the cinnamon, the sugar, and the orange blossom water (orange blossom optional).
- While still breast side down, drizzle or paint honey over the top of the chicken. Arrange the couscous mixture in the pot around the chicken. Cover with lid or tightly with foil, and return to the oven for an additional 30 minutes.
- Remove from the oven. When cool enough to handle, remove and carve the chicken into serving portions. Stir and fluff the couscous, making sure to scrape up any chicken skin that’s stuck to the bottom of the pan, and place chicken pieces on top of the couscous. Garnish with the chopped herbs and enjoy!