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Roast Harissa Butter Chicken and Cracked Wheat

Georgie Hayden's Butter Chicken from Stirring Slowly is flavoured with Tunisian harissa paste and is the perfect Summer roast recipe. Delicious with the flavours of lemon, paprika and coriander, it's the ideal meal for a gathering.

From the book

Georgina Hayden


This is recipe is wonderfully flexible, and can be served several ways; shred the chicken, toss it all together and serve it as a salad on a warm sunny day (a perfect picnic number), or serve it as is for an alternative, warming Sunday roast. And if you have any leftovers, toss the chicken in the juices and squish it into a sandwich. The butty of dreams.

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4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 preserved lemon
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp sweet smoked paprika
2 tbsp harissa
a bunch of coriander
a bunch of parsley
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
80g butter, at room temperature
olive oil
1 x 1.6kg chicken
1 lemon
425ml fresh chicken stock
1 onion
2 tomatoes
350g bulgur wheat
Greek yoghurt, to serve

Essential kit

You will need a food processor.


1. Preheat your oven to 190°C/gas 5. Peel the garlic. Halve the preserved lemon and remove the seeds. In a dry frying pan toast the cumin and coriander seeds until lightly toasted. Place in a food processor along with the paprika, preserved lemon, harissa, half the coriander and parsley (stalks and all) and the garlic. Season well and blitz to a paste. Add the butter and 2 tablespoons of olive oil and pulse until smooth.

2. Use your hands to carefully prise the chicken skin away from each breast, to create a pocket. Slash the skin on the thighs and rub the butter all over – under the skin mainly and all over the top. Halve the lemon and pop it into the chicken cavity, then place in a small snug-fitting roasting tray. Put it into the oven and roast for around 1¼ hours, or until golden and crisp but cooked through – check that the juices run clear around the thigh area. Baste the chicken a couple of times during cooking with the buttery juices in the tray.

3. When the chicken has about 20 minutes left to cook, start the bulgur wheat. Heat your chicken stock in a medium pan. Meanwhile peel and finely chop the onion, and deseed and finely chop the tomatoes. Pour a glug of olive oil into a saucepan and put on a medium-low heat. Add the onion and sauté for 10 minutes, until soft. Add the tomatoes and cook for a further 5 minutes, then add the bulgur wheat. Stir for a minute, then add the hot chicken stock and season lightly. Bring to the boil, pop on the lid, then reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 8 minutes, until the wheat is cooked through and fluffy, then remove from the heat. Cover the pan with a tea towel and put a lid on top to keep it warm. Chop the rest of the coriander and parsley leaves and stir through the bulgur wheat.

4. When the chicken is ready, leave to rest for 10 minutes, then squeeze over the lemon from the cavity and carve it up – you can carve traditionally or shred the meat into the buttery juices to keep the meat insanely moist. Serve it straight away, alongside the bulgur wheat or leave it to cool and toss everything together, for a perfect picnic salad. Perfect with a dollop of tangy thick Greek yoghurt.


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From the book: Stirring Slowly: Recipes to Restore and Revive

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