Morrocan Honey Chicken

16 Sep

A while ago I included one of my favourite recipes for pomegranate cous cous by Rosie Lovell (if any of your friends love cooking, buy them Spooning with Rosie for Christmas – it virtually never goes back on my bookshelf, but lives in my kitchen and just moves around so I can leaf through it while having coffee or chatting with mates who pop round) – this is the main dish with which to serve it – not only is it utterly scrumbo but it will feed an army without breaking the bank and looks stunning for a dinner party.  We often have 10 around our table at the cortijo and so is just brilliantly easy to cook and serve as the chicken can be made early that day or even the day before.  Make the cous cous an hour before your guests arrive and make up some chickpea puree – basically make a hummus without the tahini and add a gently fried onion and a good handful of coriander all whizzed up.  So, back to the chicken.

For an army you will need 2 hens, for six people 1 will be plenty – if I am cooking for six I don’t halve the rest of the recipe as I love the sauce.

2 Hens about 1.5 kg each

3 bay leaves

4 teaspoons whole cloves

2 teaspoons whole peppercorns

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 medium onions

2 teaspoons ground cloves

2 sticks cinnamon

2 bird’s-eye chillies

6 cloves garlic

1.2 kg fresh plum tomatoes

5 tablespoons of runny honey

freshly ground black pepper

Maldon sea salt

Put the chicken in two seperate large pots of water (or one if you have a massive pot).  Add bay leaves, whole cloves and peppercorns.  Bring to the boil and put a lid on and simmer for an hour and a half – the meat will be amazingly succulent and fall off the carcuss.  Take out of the stock and set aside for a couple of hours to cool.  Keep the stock for the cous cous (see my pomegranate cous cous recipe) and also for adding to the sauce.  You can freeze the rest for soup as there is so much of it!  When the chicken is quite cool, just pull all the meat off – it is brilliant as there is very little wasted, not true when you roast a chicken!  Then make the sauce.

Warm the olive oil in a very large pan and add the onion, peeled and chopped.   Fry with the ground cloves, cinnamon and finely chopped chillies.  Then peel and crush the garlic and add that too.  Sweat these ingredients gently – you don’t want it to brown.  Then roughly chop the tomatoes and add these to the pan.  Slow cook the whole lot with a lid on for a hour or so and then ladle in a  little of the reserved chicken stock to make a bit more saucy!  Then add the honey and then the stripped chicken, and season with salt and pepper.  If you are making this in advance just bring out of the fridge to room temperature and warm through just before serving with the cous cous.  Sensational!

5 Responses to “Morrocan Honey Chicken”

  1. Naomi Hall September 16, 2010 at 10:44 am #

    You absolute BEWTY !! I have seven people coming for dinner tomorrow night(Friday Sydney Time)and haven’t had a second to think about what to cook. YOU HAVE SAVED MY LIFE !!! Brilliant, brilliant…. XXXX

  2. Kim Horrod September 18, 2010 at 2:41 pm #

    I am making this tonight. I randomly have all the ingredients, and I have shedloads of tommies from my plants.


    • Naomi Hall September 18, 2010 at 11:58 pm #

      How was your Kim? My chicken was a success but the couscous a bit too gluggy (my fault – too afraid to dip my finger in the hot stock to measure 5 cms !) and our pommegranites not quite ripe enough yet.

      • Kim Horrod September 19, 2010 at 11:28 pm #

        Chicken delicious, I just steamed the couscous, after all that grinding of cloves, and cinnemon sticks I simply could not be arsed to measure 5 centimetres of anything or de-seed pomegranites. Especially as am having to write a proposal to secure the job of my life-time and clean the house as I have been very busy with work this past week. And all on a Sunday. Hope you are well xxx

  3. Gail Harris September 26, 2010 at 12:27 pm #

    Ah, you don’t have to grind the cinnamon sticks – just take them out before serving – sorry! also you can buy ground gloves in any supermarket – I highly recommend doing that!

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