FRIDAY FEAST!

The AFL Grand Final is upon us. Sadly, we have Collingwood and Geelong playing and not my darling Sydney Swans, but there’s always next year and I’ll still watch the game because I love it. Tomorrow will find us crowded around the telly barracking madly for the Cats (there’s no way we could barrack for the Pies – that would be just wrong), enjoying a couple of beers and over-indulging in footy food.

I have all sorts of footy food recipes, from traditional meat pies, sticky spicy chicken, and barbeque sauce smothered ribs to comforting meze dishes, mouth numbingly hot Asian inspired finger food, and pizzas of various persuasions. What ends up being chosen all depends on how busy I’ve been and how inspired I’m feeling.

So, as I’m feeling a bit perky today, I’m going to prepare one of our favourite dishes – Moroccan Spiced Grilled Chicken. Not traditional, sure, but very tasty and easy on me because, bar whipping up a salad, all the hard work is done the day before. Which means I’ll be able to relax tomorrow and Jim will be happy because he gets to do his man thing with the barbeque. All good!

Oh, and don’t forget to do the sherbetty lemons. They’re nearly the best part of this dish.

MOROCCAN SPICED GRILLED CHICKEN

1 X 2kg approx chicken

A pinch of saffron threads

2 teaspoons coarse salt

4 garlic cloves, chopped

3 teaspoons smokey paprika

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

4 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 lemons

Icing sugar

Spatchcock the chicken by cutting down its backbone using kitchen shears, then press flat to break breastbone. Remove breastbone if desired. Use skewers inserted across the legs, thighs and wings to hold chicken flat. Slash the legs, thighs and breasts with a knife.

Put the saffron in a mortar with the salt and pound with pestle to pulverise. Add garlic and pound to a paste. Work in the paprika, cayenne, cumin, pepper, lemon juice and olive oil. Rub the spice mix into the chickens, pushing into slash marks. Cover and marinate for at least 2 hours or overnight. Bring the chicken to room temperature one hour before cooking (unless it’s stinking hot!).

Prepare a charcoal fire or preheat a bbq and place chickens on the grill, skin side up. Cook over medium heat for 20 minutes, continually turning and brushing with any remaining marinade. If using bbq, cover chicken with an inverted baking tray, watching temperature carefully to ensure chicken doesn’t burn. Cooking time this way is approximately 20 – 25 minutes depending on bbq, thickness of chicken and degree of boning. Rest for 5 minutes with lemon squeezed over.

Cut the lemons in half crossways, remove any seeds, cut again into quarters. Dip cut surfaces into icing sugar and grill on bbq hotplate until golden and caramelised. Squeeze lemon juice over chicken while it rests.

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