I learnt to make this stuffing on my first day working as a chef and I still find myself coming back to it, it being such a reliable but pleasing combination of flavours. It goes brilliantly with chicken, especially if its grilled, but could also be used as a dressing for boiled new potatoes or as a relish for roast lamb.
2 preserved lemons, seeds removed then finely chopped to a coarse paste
1 small bunch flat leaf parsley (around 90g), finely chopped
6 cloves garlic peeled
¼ tsp ground cumin, coriander seed, chilli flakes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp Early Harvest Olive Oil
1 whole chicken, around 1.8kg
2 onions peeled
3 large potatoes washed
25g purple sprouting broccoli, tough ends of stalks removed and cut in half
Heat an oven to 175C. Place the garlic cloves in a small saucepan and cover with water. Place on a high heat, bring to the boil then cook for 10 minutes, until very soft. Drain, place in a bowl and mash with a fork. Add the chopped preserved lemons, parsley, spices, 2 tbsp olive oil and season with salt and pepper then mix well to combine.
Finely slice the onions and cut the potatoes into wedges then place on the base of a large roasting tray. Season with salt and pepper.
Place the chicken on top of the onions and potatoes and using your fingers, separate the skin from the flesh at the top of the crown. To make space for the stuffing, use a spoon to push the skin away from the breast and then down the side to where the legs are. Now use the spoon to force the stuffing into the space that you’ve created, a little at a time. Once it is in, you can use your fingers to spread it out all over the top of the chicken. If the skin at the top of the crown looks very loose, use a cocktail stick to pin it in place.
Add 150ml of water to the tray, wrap tightly with foil and place in the oven for 1 hour 10 minutes, then remove the foil and cook for another 20 minutes. The chicken should be cooked but use a meat probe to see that the thickest part reaches 70C or insert a skewer to see that the juices run clear. Carefully remove the chicken and place on a plate, leaving the chicken to rest, loosely covered with foil for 20 minutes. Gently toss the onions and potatoes with 1 tbsp olive oil and return the tray to the oven for a further 10 – 20 minutes to allow the onions to crisp up.
Bring a medium pan of salted water to the boil and blanch the purple sprouting broccoli for 2 minutes. Drain and allow to dry for a minute then season with salt and pepper.
Carve and plate the chicken, then divide the potatoes and onions, spooning any juices over the top then place the purple sprouting broccoli alongside.