Moroccan-Style Roast Chicken Stuffed with Couscous

A flavorful and easy roast chicken.

Ingredients

Stuffing

  • ¾ cup raisins
  • 3 tablespoons dry white wine
  • ½ teaspoon saffron threads, chopped
  • 1 cup instant couscous
  • cups water
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ¾ cup sliced almonds, toasted
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon honey (optional)

Basting Butter

  • cup unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup dark honey
  • ¾ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric or cumin
  • 4 Rock Cornish game hens, about pounds each, or poussins (young chickens), about 1 pound each

Method

For the stuffing, soak the raisins in hot water to cover for 30 minutes; drain and set aside. Heat the wine in a small saucepan over medium heat until warm. Remove from the heat, add the saffron, and let steep 15 minutes. Put the couscous in a shallow baking dish (a 9-inch square will do fine). Heat the water and 4 tablespoons butter to boiling, then pour over the couscous and stir well. Cover with foil and let stand 15 minutes. Fluff the couscous with a fork.

Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a medium sauté pan or skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook until tender and translucent, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the cinnamon and cook 2 minutes. Add the saffron-infused wine and cook 1 minute. Stir the onion mixture, raisins, almonds, and honey, if using, into the couscous. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Let cool.

For the basting butter, melt the butter and stir in the honey, cinnamon, and turmeric. Season to taste with salt and pepper; set aside.

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Spoon the cooled stuffing into the cavities of the hens. Place the hens on a rack in a shallow roasting or sheet pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast, basting occasionally with the butter, until juices run clear when the thigh is pierced with a skewer, about 45 minutes. Serve with Swiss Chard Tagine or grilled Japanese eggplant.