Moroccan Grilled Chicken With Apricots
Grilled or roasted spatchcock Moroccan chicken is an easy and incredibly flavorful way to prepare a whole chicken. It’s seasoned with Moroccan spices and herbs my homemade blend is easy, is tender, and it also goes wonderfully with couscous and the sweet apricots that are grilled and jammy. This grilled chicken dish transforms the sweet-savory elements of a Moroccan tagine - spiced sweet apricots and couscous - into a light, summery meal.
There’s simply nothing not to love about this easy grilled chicken. Spatchcocking it reduces cooking time and ensures the chicken is well seasoned throughout. It’s simple to do if you haven’t already prepared a whole chicken this way. Full details below on the directions along with a video included. The chicken is marinate for 1 hour or for even more flavour - overnight. I love to prepare this the night before and if I’m making it for company I will double the recipe. Then all you have to do the day of is grill and make your couscous. An easy dinner that is grilled to perfection. Got to love that bit of char on that skin. If you don’t have a grill that is no problem. You can use a skillet or grill pan or you can roast the chicken in the oven no problem. That goes for the apricots too. All the details for that in the directions
Apricots, usually dried, are often added to chicken tagine to add some sweet and tang to the dish. I decided to play up those same flavours using fresh apricots and grilling them in a grill pan. They are tossed with a bit of the Moroccan spice blend, honey, lemon, pomegranate molasses and with some chopped shallots. The shallots caramelize beautiful and the apricots get beautifully jammy. You could place the apricots right on the grill if you want some grill marks on them but I would only grill them partially like that as they get quit soft and if they are small ones you could end up losing them through the grates. Give them a quick sear and finish them off in the tin with the rest of the ingredients. The glaze is so good over the chicken and the apricots practically melt in your mouth.
I recommend serving the chicken with some quinoa or couscous (which takes just five minutes to make) and a leafy green salad with a lemony vinaigrette. Doesn’t get easier or more delicious. Enjoy!
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Serves 3-4 people
For the chicken
- 1 whole chicken spatchcocked (See Below)
- 2 tbsp all purpose Moroccan spice mix - divided reserving ¼ tsp for the apricots (my homemade blend is easy and delicious)
- 1 tsp salt
- ¾ tsp pepper
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 Lemon zested and juiced
- 1 clove garlic minced or passed through a garlic press
- 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
For the apricots
- 6 apricots
- 1 shallot peeled and coarsely chopped
- 1 lemon juiced and zested
- 1½ tbsp honey
- 1 tsp pomegranate molasses
- ¼ tsp of reserved all purpose Moroccan seasoning
- Mix spices together and the oil, zest and juice from the lemon, pomegranate molasses and garlic in a small bowl. Rub spice paste all over chicken. Inside and out. Place the chicken in a large food bag, then squeeze out the air and seal before giving everything a good squish to coat thoroughly. Marinate for minimum of 1 hr or for best flavour overnight in the fridge.
- Fire up a barbecue and let the flames die down, or heat oven to 450°F. Lift the chicken out of the bag. Barbecue or roast the chicken for 25-30 mins on each side until crisp and cooked through (165 F) Set aside on a platter, loosely cover with foil, to rest while you do the apricots. If you roasted rather than barbecued, keep the tin juices warm for serving.
- Place apricots in a small, roasting tin. Whisk the lemon juice and zest with honey, pomegranate molasses and the reserved seasoning. Pour over the apricots and roast, or grill on the barbecue, for 10-15 mins until soft and starting to caramelized
- Serve the chicken with any cooking juices if roasted, and the apricots with the sweet glaze.
How to spatchcock a chicken
- Place chicken breast-side down, with the legs towards you.
- Using sturdy scissors or poultry shears, cut up along each side of the backbone to remove it, cutting through the rib bones as you go.
- Open the chicken out and turn over. Flatten the breastbone with the heel of your hand so that the meat is all one thickness.
- Use two skewers to secure the legs and keep the bird flat. Run the skewers diagonally through the breast and thigh meat. (Optional)
- Griddle, grill or barbecue for approx 15-20 mins per side or roast for 40 mins (depending on size of bird).