Moroccan-Spiced Roast Chicken Recipe

 IMG_1143My mother-in-law gives Jamie & I a new cookbook (or three) every year during beach week as our anniversary gift.  I hate purchasing cookbooks when I know I can usually get the recipe for free online, but their is something so nice about having a book with pictures to follow out in front of you as you cook.  She purchased Weeknight Fresh & Fast (Williams-Sonoma): Simple, Healthy Meals for Every Night of the Week for us this year.  LOVE IT!  It has a meal for every week of the year and divides the recipes into Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter.

I tried a fall dish last night because I am over these 100 degree days.  The Moroccan Baked Chicken has a little kick to it but O gobbled it all up!

IMG_1145Moroccan-Spiced Roast Chicken Recipe

Serves 4


  • One whole (4 to 5 pounds) chicken
  • Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/4 to 3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 smallish lemon
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for the baking sheet
  • 2 small (about 3/4 pounds total) orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, unpeeled
  • 1 pound cauliflower, cut into 1-inch florets
  • 1 red onion, cut into 8 wedges


1. Preparation: Preheat the oven to 450°F.  Oil a heavy large rimmed baking sheet.

2. In a small bowl, mix the paprika, cumin, pepper flakes, and cinnamon. Set aside 2 1/2 teaspoons of the spice mixture for the vegetables. The rest is for the chicken. Finely grate the zest from the lemon, cut the lemon into quarters, and mix the zest into the spices for the chicken. Gradually mix in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil to make a paste.

3. Pull out and discard the fat and giblets from the cavity of the chicken. Pat the chicken very dry with paper towels. Starting at the edge of the main cavity, slide a finger under the skin over each breast half, making a pocket between the skin and meat. Rub a total of 1 tablespoon of salt over the chicken skin and toss a little salt inside the cavity. Sprinkle the chicken generously with black pepper.

3. Spread a little of the seasoning paste inside the cavity, slather some of it under the skin over the chicken breasts, and rub the rest of the paste all over the outside of the chicken. Toss the lemon quarters inside the cavity. Place the bird in the center of the baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, cut the sweet potatoes in half crosswise, and then quarter each half lengthwise to create wedges. Combine the sweet potatoes, cauliflower, and onion in a bowl. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons oil and toss to coat. Add the reserved spice mixture, sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper, and toss to coat.

5. After the chicken has roasted for 30 minutes, remove it from the oven. Tilt the sheet pan and spoon off most of the fat. Return the chicken to the center of the sheet and spoon the vegetables around it. Return the pan to the oven and continue roasting until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a thigh registers 165°F (74°C), about 40 minutes longer, depending on the size of the bird. If the skin is getting too dark before the meat is done, reduce the oven temperature to 425°F.

6. Transfer the chicken to a platter and let rest for 10 minutes. Carve the chicken and serve with the vegetables.