I've called this "Moroccan" in inverted commas because it doesn't actually bear any resemblance to any Moroccan dish I've ever tried, and yet the overall effect is very reminiscent of many Moroccan and other North African dishes I've eaten.
It's sometimes possible to buy a chicken crown, which makes a very convenient meal for two, but this could be made with any chicken portions. The real advantage of a crown is how easy it is to loosen the skin, spread the harissa paste onto the surface of the meat, and then replace the skin - and although chicken breast can easily get dry when cooked, the spice paste helps to prevent that. I'm loving North African and Middle Eastern spices at the moment. I always have a heavy crush on them after visiting my daughter who lives in France, close to the Swiss border, because one of the highlights of our visits is usually a trip to a shop overlooking the border post near Geneva that stocks the most wonderful range of spices, pulses, oils and other goodies. I think the shop itself is Lebanese, but it sells products from right around the southern and eastern shores of the Mediterranean. This recipe makes good use of the harissa and ras-el-hanout I bought on a recent visit.
Ingredients (to serve 2)
1 chicken crown
¼ small butternut squash, peeled and de-seeded
2 carrots, peeled
2 small onions, peeled
1 medium tin chopped tomatoes
1 small tin chickpeas
1 tbs light olive oil
2 tsp harissa paste
1 tsp ras-el-hanout
1 lemon, juice and grated rind
lots of chopped fresh parsley
Pre-heat the oven to 180C (fan) /200C (normal)/ 400F/ gas mark 6.
Cut the onions into wedges and the carrots and squash into roughly 3cm chunks. Place in a large roasting tin and toss with the oil and lemon rind, making sure everything is coated evenly.
Loosen the skin on the chicken crown from the neck end, not going quite to the edges and being careful not to tear it, then push the harissa in between the skin and flesh, smoothing the flesh from the outside to spread the paste evenly. Then nestle the chicken in among the veg, drizzle over the lemon juice and sprinkle the skin with the ras-el-hanout.
Roast in the pre-heated oven for 40 minutes, stirring the veg occasionally - some charred, blackened buts are good but you don't want anything burned to a crisp! Then tip in the drained chickpeas and tinned tomatoes, give everything a stir and return to the oven for 10 minutes.
Remove from the oven and sprinkle the veg generously with chopped parsley.
Cut through the middle of the chicken bone and serve with couscous.
Despite being neither vegetarian nor a dessert (sorry!) I'm sharing this with the Extra Veg challenge at Veggie Desserts with Fuss Free Flavours and Utterly Scrummy
And also with The Spice Trail at Bangers And Mash