Moroccan Chicken With Dates
60 minutes preparation / 2 hours cooking
- 1 ¾ cups Medjool dates, pitted
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 3 large onions, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 cups lightly toasted whole, blanched almonds
- 1 ½ tsp cinnamon mixed with ½ tsp mace
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- ½ tsp white pepper
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 large (5 pound) chicken, cleaned and salted inside and out
- 1 tsp powdered saffron (or a few threads soaked in warm water)
- 1 tbsp honey
- 2 tbsp water
- 1 cup plus 2 tbsp toasted sliced almonds, to garnish
- Steep the dates in the lemon juice for 1 hour.
- Fry the onions slowly in the oil until transparent. Let cool.
- Stuff each date with an almond and some onion, and roll in the spice mix.
- Stuff the chicken with the dates. Sew up or skewer the cavity opening. Use any leftover dates to surround the chicken when it goes into the pot.
- Add the saffron to the remaining spice mixture and rub the outside of the chicken with it.
- Cover the bottom of a stovetop casserole dish with the remaining onions and add the chicken. Drizzle over the honey and water, cover, and stew gently for 1 ¾ to 2 hours until very tender. Baste occasionally, adding a little more water if necessary.
- Carefully remove the chicken to a large platter, and open up the cavity so you can spoon out the stuffing. Garnish with some of the sauce and with the toasted almonds.
Serving suggestion: with saffron rice and salad.