Yvonne Maffei’s Roast Chicken with Couscous, Dates and Buttered Almonds


Yvonne Maffei’s Roast Chicken With Couscous, Dates and Buttered Almonds

Yvonne Maffei’s Roast Chicken With Couscous, Dates and Buttered Almonds

Deglet Noor dates reveal their brilliance when incorporated into chutneys, desserts, or North African cuisine, such as this delightful whole roast chicken dish. The chicken is cooked with fluffy couscous that perfectly captures dates' sweetness and toasted almonds' butteriness. While many supermarket Deglet Noor dates tend to be dark brown and firm, indicating they've been stored well beyond their ideal ripeness, opt for soft, light-colored ones to savor the fullest flavor experience. —Julia Moskin
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 6


  • 4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • Fine sea salt
  • 1 large whole chicken approximately 4 pounds
  • 2 cups couscous not instant
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • ½ cup sliced almonds
  • ½ cup slivered dates
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp orange blossom water optional
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • Chopped mintparsley, or cilantro, or a mix, for garnish


  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix 2 tablespoons of olive oil, lemon juice, ginger, pepper, and 1 teaspoon of salt in a large ovenproof dish or pot with a tight lid. Place the chicken in the mixture and coat evenly by rubbing it around. Roast the chicken uncovered, breast side down, for 50 minutes.
  • While the chicken is roasting, combine couscous, 2 cups of water, and ½ teaspoon of salt in a large bowl. Let it sit for 5 to 15 minutes to soak.
  • Melt the butter in a small skillet. Toss in the almonds and toast them until they turn golden, turning occasionally; reduce heat if necessary to prevent the butter and almonds from burning. After you've turned off the heat, mix the dates in.
  • Combine the almond-date mixture with couscous in a bowl and any remaining butter from the pan. Fluff the grains with a fork while mixing. Then, incorporate 2 tablespoons of olive oil, sugar, cinnamon, and, optionally, orange blossom water.
  • Drizzle or brush honey over the top of the chicken while it remains breast-side down in the pot. Arrange the couscous mixture around the chicken in the pot. Cover tightly with a lid or foil and return to the oven for 30 minutes.
  • After removing from the oven:
    1. Allow the dish to cool slightly.
    2. Please take out the chicken and carve it into serving portions.
    3. Stir and fluff the couscous, scraping any chicken skin stuck to the bottom of the pan.
    4. Place the carved chicken pieces back on top of the couscous.
    5. Sprinkle with chopped herbs and serve promptly.