Moroccan Roast Chicken with Apricots

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Salt and freshly ground pepper
One 4-pound chicken, at room temperature
1 onion, quartered
4 garlic cloves
12 pitted dates
12 dried apricots
1/2 cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth

Preheat the oven to 425° and position a rack in the lower third of the oven. In a bowl, mix the butter with the cumin, coriander, sweet paprika, cayenne and cinnamon and season with salt and pepper.

Pat the chicken dry. Rub half of the spice butter under the skin and the rest over the chicken; season with salt and pepper.

Set the chicken breast-side-up on a rack in a roasting pan. Scatter the onion, garlic cloves, dates and dried apricots and add 1/2 cup of water. Roast for 30 minutes, until the breast is firm and just beginning to brown in spots. Using tongs, turn the chicken breast-down and roast for 20 minutes longer, until the skin is lightly browned.
Using tongs, turn the chicken breast-side-up. Add another 1/2 cup of water. Roast for about 20 minutes longer, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the inner thigh registers 175° to 180°.

Tilt the chicken to drain the cavity juices into the pan; transfer the bird to a cutting board. Remove the rack from the pan and spoon off the fat. Set the pan over high heat. Add the stock and cook, scraping up any browned bits. Carve the chicken and pass the chunky jus at the table.

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