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Rotisserie chicken with apricot, pine nut and freekeh stuffing

Rotisserie chicken with apricot, pine nut and freekeh stuffing

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There's something very appealing about how minimal this roast chicken is – there's lots to be said for roast chicken with all the trimmings, but this rotisserie chicken is a different beast. The challenge was to try and create a chicken that was a meal in itself. The answer? Stuff it with whatever you'd want to eat it with!

Aside from the aesthetic beauty of that, it also makes the most of the amazing flavour that you get from a barbecue. There's nothing quite like a chicken cooked over coals, and when the chicken is rotating on a rotisserie, you just get an amazing caramelisation all the way around that enhances the whole flavour. Meanwhile, the stuffing is inside the bird, flavouring it from the inside and absorbing all those delicious chicken juices. It's a perfect recipe in that sense – nothing is wasted, apart from the odd drip of chicken fat onto the coals; even that encourages flavour though, via a brief spurt of flame and a waft of extra smoke.

Ingredients

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Method

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1
Start by preparing your barbecue – set up the rotisserie attachment and preheat your barbecue to 200ºC
2
Prepare your chicken. Remove the end wing pinion and the wishbone – for the latter, carefully cut around the wishbone at the neck end of the bird, then release the two spokes from the body. Twist the wishbone around until it comes out cleanly
3
Mix together the olive oil, dried thyme, dried oregano and garlic and rub the marinade thoroughly into the bird, making sure to get into all the nooks and crannies. Leave it to marinate a little whilst you prepare the stuffing
4
To make the stuffing, sweat the onion and garlic in a tablespoon of oil until lightly caramelised and softened, then set aside
5
Add the other tablespoon of oil into the pan and toast the freekeh over a medium heat until brown and nutty. Add the lemon zest and juice, thyme leaves, rosemary, sumac and water. Bring to a boil, then put a lid on the pan and simmer gently until the freekeh has absorbed all the liquid – approximately 10–15 minutes
6
Stir the freekeh together with the cooked onions, toasted pine nuts and apricots. Taste for seasoning and allow to cool for 10 minutes before you stuff the chicken
7
Season the chicken all over with salt and pepper, and stuff the cavity of the chicken with your freekeh stuffing. Use a fresh lemon to seal the cavity – this will help to keep the stuffing inside the bird whilst it's on the rotisserie
8
Thread the chicken onto the rotisserie skewer and clamp tightly in place with the claws. Attach to the rotisserie and roast for 70 minutes with the lid closed. When you put the chicken inside the barbecue, the temperature will probably drop to around 180ºC – keep it around the 180–200ºC range and it'll be fine. Some of the fat will drip onto the coals and cause the occasional flare up, but that just adds to the flavour!
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9
To check your chicken for doneness, give the legs a wiggle – they should feel loose and wiggly, if they're still firm it means the brown meat hasn't fully cooked yet. You can also skewer and test to see if the juices run clear. Once your chicken is cooked, remove it from the rotisserie and let it rest for 10–15 minutes under some tin foil
10
Remove the stuffing from the bird with a spoon and carve up the chicken as you like!
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Rotisserie chicken with apricot, pine nut and freekeh stuffing

 
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