This simple bread is a Moroccan favourite – commonly made and eaten as an accompaniment to home-cooked meals.
- 1 x 7 g sachet dried yeast
- 250 g (1⅔ cups) plain flour, sifted
- 160 g (1 cup) wholemeal flour
- 100 g fine semolina
- ½ tsp caster sugar
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked
- 1 bunch coriander, leaves picked
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- ½ tsp paprika
- ½ tsp dried chilli flakes
- 2 lemons, 1 juiced, 1 halved
- 80 ml (⅓ cup) olive oil
- 2 preserved lemon quarters (see Note), white pith removed, finely chopped
- 1.6 kg whole chicken
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Resting time 3 hours 40 minutes
To make chermoula chicken, place parsley, coriander, spices, lemon juice and 60 ml olive oil in a food processor with 2 tsp salt and pulse to a paste. Stir through preserved lemon then pour paste over chicken. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Meanwhile, place yeast in a bowl with 125 ml lukewarm water and set aside for 10 minutes or until mixture bubbles. Add flours, semolina, sugar, ground cumin and a pinch of salt to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, then add yeast mixture and another 250 ml water. Mix to combine, then knead for 7 minutes or until dough is smooth but still sticky. Place in a clean bowl, cover with a clean tea towel and set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 2 hours or until doubled in size.
Punch down dough and divide into 6 equal pieces. Shape into 15 cm rounds and place on oven trays lined with baking paper. Scatter over cumin seeds, cover and set aside for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, place chicken in an oven tray and bring to room temperature. Preheat oven to 180°C. Place halved lemon in the cavity of the chicken and truss (see Note). Roast for 1 hour or until juices run clear. Loosely cover with foil and set aside.
Bake breads for 25 minutes or until they sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Serve with chermoula chicken.
• Preserved lemons are available from delis and specialist food shops.
• Trussing a chicken allows the whole chicken to cook evenly. To truss a chicken, first rinse it under cold running water, then pat it dry with paper towel. Place the chicken on a chopping board with the breast side up. Bend the joints of the wings back to tuck the wings under the chicken, then tie the legs together with unwaxed kitchen string. Cross string over legs and diagonally over body, then over and under the wings. Wrap string under the body, then tie in a bow at the legs to secure.
Photography Chris Chen
As seen in Feast magazine, March 2014, Issue 29.