i heart cooking clubs ~ chicken w/rice & nut stuffing

This weeks theme at I Heart Cooking Clubs is Lunch Box, with several food bloggers sharing Mark Bittman recipes that they would take or have their children take for lunch. I was a little challenged by this because I no longer have little people who take their lunches to school. 

My guys are all about leftovers. They both have access to microwaves at work or school so I looked into my deep freeze for inspiration. I saw before me an entire shelf of chicken. Choice made! Now to find a "new recipe" that would take me out of the box. 

I sat down with a cup of tea and Mr Bittman's How to Cook Everything.  I strolled through the poultry section and this recipe caught my eye. Nuts and Rice? Curiouser and curiouser. I stayed pretty true to the recipe except that I changed out the currants for dried cranberries. The flavor combination reminded me of mild Indian food. Yumm!

The boys really enjoyed this little side trip to an exotic land. Their favorite part was the rice. Pistachios are now a new family favorite. I love it when I make something new and out of the ordinary and they really like it. It makes the extra steps of love I take in the kitchen all worth it. This one's a keeper!

Celebrate the Feast!

Roast Chicken with Rice and Nut Stuffing
recipe adapted from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything

1/2 cup long-grain white rice (basmati is best)
4 tablespoons olive oil or butter
1/4 cup pine nuts or shelled pistachio nuts
2 tablespoons raisins or currants (optional)
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon minced fresh marjoram or oregano leaves or 1 teaspoon dried
1 whole 4 1/2-6 pound chicken trimmed of excess fat, interior cavity cleaned, rinsed and patted dry with paper towels

1.  Bring a large pot of water to boil; salt it.  Add the rice and simmer; stirring occasionally, until it is tender but not mushy; 8 to 10 minutes.  Drain, rinse and drain again.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2.  Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil or butter in a large, deep skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes.  Toss in the nuts and raisins or currants, and stir for 1 minute.  Add the rice and stir, seasoning with salt and pepper, while cooking for another minute; the rice need not get hot.  Add the lemon juice and half the herb.  (You may prepare the recipe in advance to this point.  refrigerate well wrapped or in a covered container for up to 2 days before proceeding.)

3.  Stuff the chicken loosely with the mixture.  Do not overstuff, if there's extra stuffing, just heat on the side and serve later.  Truss the chicken if you like and rub the chicken with 1 tablespoon of the remaining olive oil or butter and and season with salt and pepper.  Place on a rack in a roasting pan, breast side up and put pan in oven.

4.  Roast the chicken for at least 1 1/4 hours, depending on size, basting with the remaining tablespoon of oil or butter about halfway through, and any pan juices that accumulate.  The bird is done when an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 160 to 165 degrees.

5.  Remove the chicken from the oven and let it rest for about 5 minutes.  Carve and garnish with the reserved herb and serve with the stuffing and pan juices.

Mary L. on Foodista