Sticky citrus chicken with griddled avocado & beet salad
You know those avocados that are as hard as rocks when you buy them, then refuse to ripen? Here’s the solution – cook them! Serves 4 Prep 15 mins plus at least 2 hrs Q Q marinating Cook 1 hr Q
1 spatchcocked chicken (about 1.3kg) 2 red onions, each cut into 8 wedges 6 beetroots (we used a mixture of golden and purple beetroots, peeled and each cut into 8 wedges – wear gloves to avoid pink hands!) 1 tbsp olive or rapeseed oil 250g spelt 2 large, firm avocados 100g bag watercress natural yogurt, to serve (optional)
FOR THE MARINADE 1 small preserved lemon 4 garlic cloves, crushed 2 tsp sweet paprika, plus a pinch zest and juice 2 large lemons zest and juice 2 large oranges 6 tbsp clear honey 3 tbsp olive or rapeseed oil
1 Place the chicken in a large dish. To make the marinade, rinse the preserved lemon to remove some of the brine, then separate the middle from the peel. Discard the middle and finely chop the soft peel until it resembles a paste. Tip it into a bowl and add the crushed garlic, paprika, orange and lemon juice and zest, honey and oil. Whisk until combined, then pour roughly half of the mixture over the chicken and rub it into all the nooks. Leave the chicken to marinate overnight, covered, in the fridge for the best flavour (store the remaining marinade in the fridge, too), but if you’re short on time, 2 hrs marinating will do.
3 Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Tip the onions and beetroot into a large roasting tin (if you use your best tin, you can serve the dish straight from it), drizzle with olive or rapeseed oil and season well. Toss the vegetables to coat and spread them out towards the edges of the tin. Place the chicken on top of the vegetables, skin-side up, and pour over any juices from the dish. Season and roast for 45 mins.
4 Meanwhile, boil the spelt for 20 mins or until tender, then drain and set aside. Halve each avocado, remove the stones and peel. Chop each piece in half again, if you like. Char the avocado pieces on a hot griddle pan for a few minutes – this will give them a smoky flavour.
5 Remove the remaining marinade from the fridge and very gently toss the avocado pieces in it, then set them aside. Pour the remaining marinade into a small pan and bring to a rapid boil, then continue cooking for 2-3 mins until you have a sticky glaze.
6 Remove the roasting tin from the oven, lift the chicken onto a plate and stir the spelt into the vegetables. Place the chicken back on top, dot the avocado pieces around the tin and brush the thickened glaze over the chicken. Return to the oven for a further 5-10 mins. To check the chicken is cooked, pierce the thickest part with a skewer. The juices should run clear, not pink. If you need to, return the chicken to the oven for a further 5-10 mins, then check again.
7 Lift the chicken onto a plate, cover loosely with foil and return the roasting tin with the vegetables to the oven for a further 10 mins until the avocado softens. To serve, nestle the chicken back into the tin of veg, scatter over a few small watercress leaves and serve the rest on the side with the yogurt. PER SERVING 1,020 kcals, fat 51g, saturates 10g, carbs 77g, sugars 40g, fibre 16g, protein 55g, salt 0.5g