Sicilian Roast Chicken - As good as it gets

Nonna’s Rice-Stuffed Chicken

Serves: 4 – 6

This recipe by Mattel Tine of Bar Carolina in Melbourne, is a brilliant example of Sicilian home cooking.

One of the best chicken dishes ever. Blow-away good.

Cooked by Nat last Sunday night, this was just genius. I literally sat back and watched and wow, was I impressed.

With all of the fresh herbs and the lemon, it is such an aromatic dish. The risotto – especially the risotto dumplings – are amazing. And despite my misgivings about roast potatoes, they just work in this dish.

Line this up for Sunday night. Open a Pinot. Dim the lights, put on some music and enjoy the Covid lockup in style.

Ingredients

1.8kg chicken
100ml olive oil
1 cup each courses chopped flat-leaf parsley, rosemary and sage
Juice of two lemons
5 roasting potatoes, peeled and quartered

Rice Stuffing

60ml (1/4 cup) olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
300gm ( 1 1/2 cups) quality risotto rice
600ml chicken stock
80gm (1 cup) Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano, finely grated
50gm (1/2 cup) fine breadcrumbs
1 egg
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp each finely chopped oregano and flat-leaf parsley

Method

  1. For rice stuffing, heat oil in a casserole over low-medium heat. Add onion and garlic and stir until translucent and aromatic (4 – 6 minutes). Add rice and stir (1 minute, then add chicken stock and cook stirring continuously, until rice has absorbed the liquid and is al dente (6 – 8 minutes; you want the rice to be undercooked).
  2. Spread the rice over a tray to cool (15 minutes). Add remaining ingredients and mix well to combine.
  3. Preheat over to 200C. Stuff rice stuffing into chicken cavity to fill completely, then roll remaining stuffing into walnut-sized balls.
  4. Combine oil, herbs and lemon juice in a bowl. Season to taste. Place the chicken in the baking dish and then place the potatoes and dumplings around the chicken. Brush the chicken all over with the herb dressing. Pour 5mm of water into the pan and roast until the chicken is cooked through (1 1/2 hours). Set aside to rest (30 minutes) then carve and serve.

P.S. This post is dedicated to Alexa Donovan. I’ve known her since she was born, I’ve watched her grow up into a wonderful, thoughtful young woman, she has babysat my three kids plenty of times… and she can cook. (And cooks (or at least reads) this blog. I’ll see if she can do a guest post!)

Abbacchio Alla Romana (Roman Roast Lamb)

Serves: 4

A leg of lamb together with anchovies was a revelation to me quite some years ago when I cooked a Matt Evans dish where the lamb was liberally smothered in garlic and anchovies.

And so you have this recipe, where you really can make a ding on the otherwise great – though boring – leg of lamb.

I’d do it on the BBQ next time because chargrilled lamb is just so wonderful, though I wouldn’t change the paste. Or the anchovies.

Serve with some roast potato wedges and maybe some beans, tossed with butter, Parmesan and breadcrumbs.

Live the lamb life.

Ingredients

1 x 2.5kg lamb leg, bone in
¼ cup rosemary leaves

¼ cup sage leaves
8 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
4 anchovies in oil, drained
¼ cup red wine vinegar
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
1 cup dry white wine
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper

Method

  1. Using a sharp knife, make deep cuts into the lamb leg, 3cm apart. Cut almost to the bone and set aside.
  2. Combine herbs, garlic and 1 tsp salt in a mortar and pestle and grind to a fine paste. Add the anchovies, grind into a paste and then stir in the vinegar and remaining oil.
  3. Place the lamb in a large bowl and rub the paste over the lamb, pushing as much into the incisions as possible. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  4. Preheat the oven to 220c. Remove the lamb from the refrigerator 1 hour prior to cooking. Place the lamb in a deep roasting pan, pour in the wine, drizzle with extra oil and season with pepper.
  5. Roast for 20 minutes and then reduce the heat to 180c and cook for 1 hour for medium or until your liking.
  6. Set aside to reset, loosely covered in foil, for 20 minutes.
  7. Slice and enjoy!

Hasselback Potatoes with Sage

Hasselback Potatoes with Sage 

How good are Hasselback Potatoes?

The addition of sage makes them even better.

Ingredients

16 small/medium white potatoes
½ cup unsalted butter, melted, plus more for brushing
32 fresh sage leaves
Flakey sea salt

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200c.
  2. If you know your Hasselback, prepare as normal, brush with butter and slip 2 sage leaves into each potato. Season with salt.
  3. If you don’t know your Hasselback, peel the potatoes. Place in a medium-depth cooking spoon and slice down thinly, ensuring you do not cut the entire way. You want to create a fan:

    CUtting-Hasselback-Potatoes.jpeg

    Brush with butter, slip in 2 sage leaves into 2 fans of potato and season with salt.

  4. Roast the potatoes, brushing occasionally with (more) butter until fork-tender, golden brown and tender. 30 minutes or so.

Credit for the fine illustration where illustration credit is due: http://glamorousglutton.com/hasselback-potatoes-stuffed-bacon/