Brick Chicken with Apricot Couscous

  • Preparation Time15 mins
  • Cooking Time60 mins
  • Serves4
  • DifficultyMedium

For the brick chicken

2 tbsp. cumin seed
2 tbsp. whole coriander
2 cinnamon sticks
1 tsp. sweet paprika
1 tsp. cayenne
1 tsp. salt
60ml olive oil
1 lemon, juiced
1 whole free-range chicken (1.5kg), split (see directions below or have butcher split chicken for you)
Extra-virgin olive oil

For the mint yoghurt dressing

375ml natural yoghurt
20g fresh coriander leaves
20g fresh mint leaves
2 spring onions, green parts only
30ml honey
1 lemon, juiced
Extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

For the apricot couscous

Extra-virgin olive oil
1 small red onion, small dice
30g dried apricots, coarsely chopped
30g whole almonds toasted, coarsely chopped
150g couscous
375ml chicken stock, warm
1/2 tsp. lemon zest
2 spring onions, green parts only
10g fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped
20g fresh coriander leaves, roughly chopped plus leaves for garnish
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the brick chicken:

1) Toast cumin, coriander and cinnamon in a medium saucepan over low heat until fragrant. In a clean spice grinder or coffee grinder, blend spices until fine. Add the toasted spices to a bowl with paprika and cayenne. Season with salt. Stir in the olive oil and lemon juice.

2) Prepare chicken by splitting it down the back and removing the backbone, breast bone and rib cage. Lay the chicken out flat and rub the blended spices all over. Marinate for up to 4 hours or overnight.

3) Preheat oven to 190 degrees C. Heat a large cast iron pan (or other heavy oven-proof pan) over medium-high heat. When hot, add 10ml of extra-virgin olive oil and place the chicken skin side down in the pan. Cover it with a second cast iron pan (you could also use a more traditional foil-wrapped brick) immediately so the skin doesn't have time to contract. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 10 to 15 minutes until chicken is golden brown and has a nice crust. Finish cooking in the oven for a further 20 to 25 minutes. Internal temperature between the leg and thigh should register 74 degrees C on an instant-read thermometer, when cooked through.

5) Serve with mint yoghurt dressing and apricot couscous.

For the mint yoghurt dressing:

Combine yoghurt, coriander, mint, spring onions, honey, lemon juice, extra-virgin olive oil, and salt and pepper, to taste, in a blender. Blend until mixture is fully combined and has a smooth consistency.

For the apricot couscous:

1) In a medium saucepan add 10ml of extra-virgin olive oil. Add the red onion, apricots and almonds and saute gently over low heat until translucent and slightly fragrant. Add the couscous, then the warm chicken broth. Stir with a fork to combine, add lemon zest and cover.

2) Let sit for 10 minutes, then uncover and add the spring onions, mint, and coriander. Fluff again with a fork. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Toss gently to combine. Serve family-style on a large platter and garnish with fresh coriander.

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