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Roast Chicken Stuffed with Spinach, Wild Rice, Walnuts and Feta

Cookbook

Against the Grain

Published by William Morrow

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

My Greek roots come through in this dish. One of the classics of Greek peasant cooking is the spinach-rice pilaf that is often served with feta cheese. I have reworked it, using wild rice and walnuts, and instead of serving it as an accompaniment outside the bird, I cook it on the inside as a stuffing. There is a similar, traditional stuffed turkey dish, filled with spinach and a slew of herbs, from Naxos.

6 servings

Cooking Methodroasting, sauteeing

CostInexpensive

Total Timeunder 4 hours

OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Family Get-together

Recipe Coursemain course

Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, halal, kosher, lactose-free, peanut free, soy free

Mealdinner

Taste and Texturemeaty, salty, savory, sweet

Ingredients

  • One 4½-pound roasting chicken
  • ¼ cup wild rice
  • Salt
  • ½ pound fresh spinach, trimmed
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons ground walnuts
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ cup crumbled Greek feta
  • 1 tablespoon seedless golden raisins
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup dry white wine

Instructions

  1. Wash and pat dry the chicken. Set aside.

  2. Rinse the wild rice and bring it to a boil in a medium pot of ample salted water over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 25 minutes, until al dente. Remove from the heat and drain into a colander.

  3. Steam the spinach. Remove from the heat, cool, and coarsely chop. Drain the spinach very well in a colander for 1 hour, squeezing to get as much of the liquid out as possible. You should have about ½ cup spinach.

  4. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat add the onion and sauté until wilted, about 5 minutes.

  5. Combine the spinach, onion, wild rice, walnuts, nutmeg, feta, and raisins in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and mix well. Preheat the oven to 375°F.

  6. Wash and pat dry the chicken. Rub it with the remaining tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Fill the cavity of the chicken with the spinach mixture. Place the chicken on a rack in a shallow baking pan and roast for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F, pour the wine over the chicken, and add ½ water to the pan. Continue roasting the chicken for about 45 minutes, until browned and the juices run clear when the chicken is pierced in the thigh. Baste 2 or 3 times with the drippings as the chicken roasts. Remove, cool slightly, spoon out the filling, and serve the chicken with the vegetables on the side. Remove skin from the chicken before serving.


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