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Roast chicken with watercress and coriander

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I was so excited when I came up with this dish. It tastes so good and, needless to say, we have been eating it a lot recently. The first step is to roast chicken thighs in lemon juice, lemon rind, capers and garlic. Then you cook the couscous in the juices produced in the roasting plus some added chicken stock. Once the couscous is ready and fluffed up, it is topped with chopped watercress and coriander, the roasted chicken is placed back on top and the dish is served immediately. Another option is to strip the chicken from the bones as the couscous cooks and then serve as a fork meal. Ideal for parties.
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It’s an all-in-one dish – which I love – the preparation time is about 25 minutes and the oven does everything else. It’s also a big meal – lots of chicken and lots of couscous and greens – so if you are feeding people with small appetites it will easily serve 6 or you’ll have great left overs.
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I love the ease of couscous – 5 minutes with some hot liquid and it’s cooked. But I find it similar to tofu in that it needs flavouring to taste really good. Cooking it in the chicken juices with chicken stock is the perfect solution.

When the chicken is roasting, a whole garlic bulb, cut in half, is roasted at the same time. It becomes sweet and sticky, with the cloves just popping out.
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I love eating the fresh watercress and coriander with the hot roast chicken. They bring their bright green colour and wonderful freshness to this meal. They also mean that you don’t need additional veg on the side.

I make sure most of the salt is sprinkled over the chicken thigh skin. This helps it crisp up and gives it a great flavour. I also pop the lemon rind under the chicken thighs as this stops them from burning.

Roasted chicken with watercress and coriander

8 chicken thighs, excess skin
2 lemons, juice and rind
2 tbsp capers
1/8 tsp salt and freshly ground pepper
1 garlic bulb, optional

400g cous cous
540ml chicken stock
80g watercress, chopped
30g fresh coriander, stalks removed and leaves chopped

Serves 4 – 6
Preparation time – 25 minutes
Cooking time – 40 – 50 minutes

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/395°F/Gas mark 6.
2. Take each thigh and cut away excess skin and fat but leave a good covering of skin on the outer side. Put into a large oven dish.
3. Pour over the lemon juice and scatter the lemon rind, capers, salt and pepper over the chicken thighs. Cut the garlic bulb in half and place in the oven dish. Put in the oven for 35 – 45 minutes until the chicken is lightly browned
4. Remove the chicken thighs from the dish and put somewhere to keep warm. Pour the couscous into the oven dish and pour over the chicken stock. Cover the dish with a clean tea towel for 5 minutes so the couscous can absorb the stock. Then fluff up with a fork and scatter over the watercress and coriander. Put the chicken thighs on top and serve. Delicious and simple.

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