On Christmas day the family gathers together for a delightful Christmas lunch and this delicious roast chicken stuffed with liver, rice and nuts should certainly not be missed. There are so many stories about the famous stuffed bird that it is rather difficult to find out where it originated, my guess for Cyprus is that the British have brought it to the island. Stuffed simple with ingredients available in any household. Served among other dishes the Christmas lunch menu is a true feast.
Mrs. Amalia's simple recipe is a very easy one though very tasty. I've kept the recipe as it was and only added some butter and slices of streaky bacon to add a little bit of extra fat as to keep the bird from drying out too much. The quantities used vary a bit depending on the size of bird. This recipe is good for a large chicken of more or less two and a half kilo. Some words about the stuffing, now and then the stuffing is used just as a dish and not cooked at all in the bird, to me this is not a stuffing but a risoto or a pilaf of some kind. The stuffing goes in the bird and cooks in the juice and soaks up the aromas whilst baking and this is what makes it to become so delicious.
You will need:
1 large chicken 2 - 2.5 kg
150 gr of chicken liver diced
150 gr of steaky bacon in slices
1/2 cup of rice, I take Basmati
1 cup of water
75 grams raw almonds with peel,
75 grams walnuts, coursely cut
sprigs of fresh oregano and rosemary
potatoes, carrots, onions a.o.
salt & pepper
large oven dish with lid
gallery of sequence of steps from stuffing to ready to dig in!
How to prepare:
Wash and dice the chicken liver,
Pour a little olive oil in a large frying pan and brown the liver slightly,
Add the washed rice and the water,
Add salt and pepper and bring to the boil and simmer with lid on the pan for 15 minutes (Basmati needs only 15 minutes) or until all water is absorbed by the rice, adjust water and cooking time if using any other type of rice,
Add the nuts and cinnamon, combine all,
Taste for extra salt and pepper.
Set aside to cool entirely, can be prepared from night before or early morning, it needs to be cool before stuffing the bird.
Pre-heat oven (fan) to 200 degrees,
Wash the chicken and drain,
Stuff the bird well and close with toothpicks,
Pepper and salt the chicken,
Place large pieces of butter on the chicken,
In a large oven dish pour 3/4 cup of olive oil, same quantity of water, salt, pepper, few sprigs of fresh oregano and rosemary, bayleaves, optional a whole garlic clove or more,
Place the chicken in the dish,
Slide into the oven without lid for half an hour for the butter to melt and get some color,
In the meantime clean the potatoes, carrots and any other veggies you like (mushrooms, tomatoes, peppers, onions) and get the bacon ready,
Take the dish out of the oven and add the potatoes, carrots, onions around the chicken, add more oil and water if necessary, potatoes should almost be covered.
Place the slices of bacon on the bird,
Close with the lid and slide into the oven, turn the temperature to 180 degrees and bake for another 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Then you take the lid of and the bacon should be nicely browned and it's time to test the chicken with a food thermometer if it's ready cooked,
Place the bacon on a plate,
The temperature should show at least 80 degrees inside the chicken, be careful that the thermometer does not touch bone,
Slide the dish without the lid back into the oven for another 20 to 30 minutes to bake the chicken nicely brown,
Chop the bacon,
When the roast is ready cooked, take it out of the dish and scoop out the stuffing, add the chopped bacon to the stuffing and hussle,
Cut the chicken in pieces and serve with the potatoes and carrots.
Enjoy and Merry Christmas!!
some indication cooking times needed per kilo stuffed bird.