roasted chicken

Whole Roasted Chicken Stuffed with Wild Rice & Pine Nuts


MEDITERRANEAN CHICKEN-RICE DISHES: Chicken and rice are a classic combo in the Mediterranean kitchen. In the context of the Ikaria Diet Recipe Club, enjoying animal protein at most once a week fits into an overall meal plan. On Ikaria, chicken and rooster are both esteemed meats, and in the traditional diet they were consumed sparingly, on special occasions or for Sunday meals. If you wanted to go totally vegan, you could simply make a baked pilaf out of the filling, increasing the spinach a bit for color, and maybe adding some plant protein like chick peas or lentils to this.

RATING
SERVES
6
PREP TIME
20 min
COOK TIME
1 h 50 min

Ingredients

  • 1 31/2-to-4- pound / 2 kilo chicken preferably organic
  • 3 Tbsp extra-virgin Greek olive oil plus more as needed
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ pound fresh spinach trimmed
  • 1 small red onion finely chopped
  • ½ cup long grain white or parboiled brown rice
  • cup wild rice cooked according to package directions
  • 3 Tbsp toasted pine nuts
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg powder
  • 1 Tbsp golden seedless raisins optional
  • ¼ cup crumbled feta optional
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • ½ cup water

Instructions

  1. Wash and pat dry the chicken. Set aside.
  2. Cook the wild rice in ample salted water according to package directions, about 35 to 40 minutes. Drain and rinse.
  3. Rinse the white or parboiled brown rice and bring it to a boil in 1 cup salted water. Reduce heat and simmer for 6 - 7 minutes, or until al dente. Remove and drain.
  4. Steam the spinach. Remove, cool, and coarsely chop. Drain the spinach very well in a colander for one hour, and squeeze dry to get as much of the liquid out of it as possible. There should be about a half a cup of steamed, squeezed, chopped spinach.
  5. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat and sauté the onion until wilted, about 5 minutes.
  6. Combine the spinach, onion, wild and white or brown rice, pine nuts, nutmeg, feta and raisins in a bowl. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Add one tablespoon of olive oil and mix well. Preheat the oven to 375F/180C.
  7. Wash and pat dry the chicken. Rub it with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and season it with salt and pepper. Fill the cavity of the chicken with the rice mixture and, using kitchen twine, tie the legs closed to keep the filling from spilling out. Place on a rack in a baking pan and roast the chicken for 15 minutes at 375F. Reduce oven temperature to 350F, pour the wine over the bird and add the water to the pan. Continue roasting the chicken for about 50 minutes to one hour, or until browned and until the juices run clear when the chicken is pierced in the thigh. Baste two or three times with the drippings as the chicken roasts. Remove, cool slightly and serve. Spoon out the filling and serve it with the carved meat. Remove the skin from the chicken if desired when serving.

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