Once you have the perfect roast chicken in your dinner repertoire, you have to start developing unique ways to change it here and there. One new way I’ve started experimenting with is stuffing. Whether it’s a wild-mushroom risotto or rice mixture, I find that a good stuffing can transform our favorite roast chickens.
This recipe is from my mom, so it comes with childhood memories of comfort food. Now that I’m making it myself, I realize the science behind the magic: that tantalizing aroma is from the warm cinnamon and lemon stirred into the rice stuffing, along with the toasted pine nuts, currants and sweet onion.
As a child, I probably wouldn’t have eaten the wild mushrooms that become golden and roasted along with the bird, just swimming in chicken juices, but now they are the perfect flavor addition. I added a few details that make this recipe my own, but I remember its roots. 🙂
Roast Chicken with Cinnamon-Currant Rice Stuffing
- 1 small onion (or equivalent shallots), finely chopped
- 2 T. olive oil
- 2/3 cup uncooked long-grain white rice
- 3 T. pine nuts
- 1 lemon
- 1 1/4 cups chicken broth
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 T. dried currants
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 whole large chicken, at least 4 lbs., washed and patted dry
- 1/2 lb. mushrooms, sliced or quartered
- 1 fennel bulb, sliced
- 1/2 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
Preheat oven to 325. Saute onion in oil in heavy saucepan until soft but not brown. Stir in rice and pine nuts; cook until all are light brown. Grate lemon rind. Stir chicken broth, garlic, currants, salt, cinnamon, and lemon rind into rice. Cook covered over low heat 20 minutes (rice will be slightly chewy).
Fill chicken cavity with rice mixture (make sure you’ve removed the giblets!). Scatter fennel and mushrooms around roasting pan; sprinkle with olive oil and toss to coat. Place chicken, breast side up, in roasting pan, on top of vegetables. Tie the legs together with chicken twine. Rub chicken skin with olive oil. Drizzle reserved lemon juice over chicken and mushrooms; sprinkle with rosemary. Season chicken with salt and pepper.
Roast chicken until juices run clear when thigh is pierced, 1 1/2 hours. Let chicken rest 10 minutes, covered in foil, before carving. Meanwhile, scoop rice into bowl, and serve the mushroom mixture along with chicken juices.
Serve sliced chicken along with sides, and a side salad.
Yummy! That rice stuffing is key. Roasting with the chicken, it takes on all those juices and extra flavor – just wonderful. I certainly plan on making it as a side dish, just adding more liquid and cooking it longer.
Enjoy, friends! xoxo