1. Preheat your oven to 230°C/Gas 8. Lower your own rack to ensure there’s enough room for your chicken with plenty of space above it.
2. Unwrap your chicken, rinse, pat dry and let it breathe while you make a quick stock with the giblets.
3. For the stock, froth up a nugget of butter in a sauce pan. Add the giblets (apart from the liver which can be used in the couscous stuffing or to make a quick jar of pâté – see our recipe online). Fry the giblets for a few moments to colour them up. Quarter one of the onions, leaving the skin on (this lends a golden colour). Add it to the pan. Slice two of the celery stalks and crush two of the garlic cloves. Pop them in the pan, along with the roughly torn bay leaves.
4. Sizzle everything for a few mins until nicely fragrant. Top with enough water to cover. Add a few parsley sprigs and bit more water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15-30 mins, until the broth is golden and delicious (give it a little taste).
5. While the stock cooks, measure the couscous in a dish you can cover with a lid or plate. Season it well with salt and pepper. Finely chop the remaining onion (discard the peel or pop in the stock pot) and garlic cloves. Finely dice the celery. Add them to the couscous along with the zest of the oranges, caraway and cumin seeds. Drizzle a bit of olive oil over and pour in the strained stock (about 2 mugs) until it rises 1cm above the top of the couscous. Top up with boiling water, if needed. Cover immediately and let it sit till all the liquid has absorbed, 10-15 mins. Chop the remaining parsley and fold it through. Save any remaining stock for the gravy.
6. Spoon enough couscous to loosely fill the chicken’s cavity – a good way to do this is to set the chicken upright with the neck end facing up. Don’t pack the couscous in as it swells up further and you need to get a bit of air flowing through the bird to ensure it cooks thoroughly. You’ll have a bit of couscous left over. Serve it alongside the bird or save it for the leftovers.
7. Lay the bird back in the tray, breasts facing up. Season generously with sea salt and pepper. If you like, tie the legs up over the breasts with box string or twine. Pop in the oven to roast, at full whack (i.e. keep the temp at 230°C/Gas 8), for…
• 1 hour for a 1.4kg bird
• 1 hour 20 mins for a 1.7kg bird
• 1 hour 40 mins for a 2.1kg bird
8. When done, turn the oven off and leave the bird in the warm oven for a further 20 mins. Then remove from the oven and let it rest at room temperature for 20 mins.
9. During its final rest, you can whip up a super easy and delicious gravy. Simply strain the pan juices into a saucepan. Squeeze in the juice from the oranges you zested for the couscous and add any remaining stock (if any). Bring to the boil and reduce by about half, tasting and adjusting the seasoning as you go.
10. Carve the bird up. Spoon a bit of couscous stuffing on to plates. Top up with fresh couscous and drizzle on the gravy. Delicious with a simple salad or a few simply cooked seasonal veggies.