Christmas roast chicken with macadamia and apricot salad

Photographer: Emma
Serves 6 with roast potatoes or a leafy salad and bread

I’m one of those people who can’t sleep in on Christmas day. Compared to the 364 other days of the year when my eyes are intent on staying shut and my snooze button gets pressed half a dozen times, on Christmas day it’s another story. At around 6am my eyelids ping open and without a hint of tiredness I spring out of bed to make coffee and watch whatever Christmas show is playing – in doing so waking up all the household sleepyheads. I then consume some chocolate (because along with Easter it’s ok to do so) which just adds fuel to my hyper activeness. If this all sounds incredibly annoying – just think of my poor sister and now my poor boyfriend!

I am going to be making this for our Christmas day at the beach this year because although it’s really simple it’s super delicious. There will only be 5 of us so this will be perfect served with Lauren’s pomegranate and haloumi salad and some fresh, crusty bread.

Enjoy your Christmas everyone, eat some delicious food and make sure you take a breather before 2013 begins.



For the chicken cavity
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, unpeeled
2 lemons, squeezed (use the skins here and the juice further down for the sauce)

For the chicken rub
1 ½ tsp paprika
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp cardamom
1 tsp onion powder
½ tsp salt
½ tsp cayenne pepper or periperi seasoning
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 tbsp olive oil

¼ cup Greek yoghurt
1 tsp Dijon mustard

For the chicken dressing
Lemon juice from the lemons above
½ cup Greek yoghurt
½ cup coriander leaves and stalks, chopped

Micro greens or watercress to serve

For the salad
1 cup macadamia nuts
½ cup pumpkin seeds
1 cup dried NZ apricots, torn
1 cup Israeli couscous
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup sprouts
1 lemon, juiced
Salt & pepper


For the chicken
1. Preheat your oven to 200ºC. Drizzle olive oil in your oven tray and place it in the oven to heat.
2. Stuff the lemon skins and two cloves of garlic (unpeeled) into the cavity of the chicken.
3. With twine or string, tie the chicken legs together and truss around the chest of the bird so the wings are secured close to the carcass.
4. Fry the chicken spices over a low heat until fragrant. Pour them into a mortar and pestle and pound with the extra peeled clove of garlic and 1 tablespoon olive oil until a paste forms.
5. Mix the yoghurt and mustard with the spice paste and then rub it all over the bird. It’s a messy job but one done best with your hands.
6. By now your oven tray should be hot and your oil smoking. Carefully take the tray out and place the bird (breast side down) on the tray and then into the oven. Set your timer for 30 minutes.
7. After 30 minutes, baste the chicken with its juices, cover with tin foil and lower the oven heat to 180ºC. Set your timer for another 30 minutes.
8. After 30 minutes baste the chicken again, then set your timer for another 10 minutes.
9. After 10 minutes, check that the chicken is cooked (I check the leg – if the flesh on the bone is white and the juices run clear it is done). If it is thoroughly cooked, pour the lemon juice over the chicken and leave it to cool. If it’s not done, return it to the oven and set your timer for 10 minutes.
10. When the chicken is cool, strain the liquid from the pan (the chicken juices and lemon juice) into a jug. Then add to this the Greek yoghurt and coriander. This dressing is best at room temperature or just slightly warm (too cold and it’s not pourable).

For the salad
11. Pour the couscous into boiling chicken stock. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the liquid has evaporated. Spoon the cooked couscous onto a flat tray to cool and then into place into the refrigerator.
12. Toast the macadamia nuts in a pan until golden. Remove from the pan and cool.
13. Toast the pumpkin seeds in the same pan. Remove from the pan and cool.
14. Once the couscous, macadamia nuts and pumpkin seeds are cool, combine them together in a big bowl with the sprouts and dried apricots.
15. Mix the lemon juice with the cider vinegar and sugar and reserve this dressing until you are ready to serve the salad and chicken.

To serve
16. Cut the string off the chicken and then you can either divide it into portions to arrange on a platter or you can place the whole chicken on a platter to carve at the table. Either way, I place the bird on a bed of micro greens or watercress. Place the yoghurt dressing into a nice bowl with a little spoon.
17. Mix the lemon and cider dressing into the Israeli couscous salad. Season the salad with salt and pepper and serve with the chicken.