Roast Chicken with Middle Eastern Stuffing
This recipe is great for a lazy Sunday where you have a lot of time to allow for roasting or for special occasions and holidays. I use it as our Thanksgiving bird because a turkey is just too big and I prefer chicken. Overall process is 3 to 4 hours but only about half an hour is spent in preparation while roasting takes approximately 3 hours. A dry white wine goes great with this meal.
Servings: 4-6 people
– 60g (2¼ oz) butter, melted
– 1 onion, chopped
– 5ml (1 tsp) ground allspice
– 60g (2¼ oz) basmati rice
– 50g (1¾ oz) walnuts, chopped
– 30g (1 oz) pine nuts
– 55g (2 oz/½ cup) sultanas [golden raisins]
– 500ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) hot chicken stock or hot water
– 2.3kg (5 lbs) chicken
– 3 tablespoons of Ghee. Butter commonly found in Indian, North African or Middle Eastern grocers.
– 4 large golden potatoes peeled and sliced into quarter inch thick wedges
– 2-4 chicken legs
– Plenty of hearty bread for dipping
– Large oval or square baking dish about an inch or more deep
– Spoon or a baster for basting
– String to tie the chicken up when done
1. Chop up onions and walnuts and put the onions into a large frying pan with 1 tablespoon of ghee at medium temperature.
2. Once onion is translucent add pine nuts, walnuts, Basmati rice, salt and pepper and fry for a few minutes.
3. After approximately 3 minutes stir in your golden raisins or sultanas and add in half a cup of hot water or hot chicken stock.
4. At this point everything is going to start sizzling and water quickly boiling and evaporating. Immediately stir everything throughly and add another half cup of liquid.
5. Wait for water to almost completely evaporate, taste the rice, if it’s not cooked keep adding half a cup of water at a time and let it evaporate.
6. When rice is cooked the stuffing is done, remove from heat and prepare the chicken.
Chicken should have already been pre-washed and cleaned in store so there’s no need to rinse it again. Even it it wasn’t you’ll be cooking it at high enough temperature to kill anything dangerous.
1. Preheat the oven to 140 C (or 285 F).
2. Add oil to the baking dish, add in optional potatoes and chicken legs, season them with salt, pepper and thyme. Use Vegeta seasoning instead of all those if available.
3. Place the chicken in the middle and stuff it.
4. Once stuffed tie up it’s legs so the stuffing does not fall out.
5. Put 2 tablespoons of ghee in one hand and rub it all over the chicken skin, then season it with salt and pepper with other hand and rub it in once more.
6. Add enough water or chicken stock to the baking dish so that it’s approximately half an inch or 1 cm deep.
7. If you have any leftover stuffing you can eat it or add it to the baking dish to the potatoes for flavoring.
IMPORTANT: Bake at 140 C or 285 F for 2.5 hours. It is important to bake it at a low temperature if you want to end up with a juicy, fall off the bone, chicken. Baste the chicken every 30 minutes. After 2.5 hours increase temperature to 180* C or 350* F and bake for 30 minutes to brown it completely. Remember that a lighter chicken will need far less cooking time, so a 3 lb (1.5kg) bird will only need 1 hour and 45 minutes plus an additional 30 minutes of browning.