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While thumbing through some of my cookbooks I came across one of Jamie Oliver’s recipes for a whole chicken that he stuffed with a fragrant couscous. Hmmm, I had a whole chicken, I like couscous, why not?
His recipe inspired me to create my own version and tweak it so that my family would enjoy it. And they did! Like any of my recipes, if there’s an ingredient that you don’t care for, switch it up! And if chicken isn’t your favorite protein of choice, then just make the couscous on its own and enjoy it with whatever else you are eating.
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Put the couscous, your choice of dried fruits, your choice of mixed nuts, the zest from the orange and lemon and juices and the chopped fresh herbs into a medium sized bowl. Add the olive oil and water and mix well.
Stuff the cavity of the chicken with the couscous and press it in tight. Use one of the lemon halves to block the cavity and keep the couscous from spilling out while cooking. You will have leftover couscous and you can put it on a double sheet of aluminum foil that has been sprayed lightly with a cooking spray or rubbed with some olive oil. Fold the foil to make a packet and place in the roasting pan alongside the chicken.
Put the spices in a small bowl and mix together with a drop of water to form a paste. Rub all over the skin of the chicken.
Bake for 1 1/2 hours, until the chicken is done. When the chicken is cooked, remove from the oven, discard the lemon half and let rest for at least 5 minutes. Remove the couscous before carving.