Home World UNITED KINGDOM Roast chicken with orange, fennel, olives and herbed rice recipe

Roast chicken with orange, fennel, olives and herbed rice recipe

Stuffing and rice – so double carbs? Yes, it works, especially as the stuffing has quite a different texture (it’s the ricotta). A spinach salad is lovely on the side. Don’t use more orange zest than suggested or it will dominate.

Prep time: 25 minutes | Cooking time: 1 hour 50 minutes




  • 1 small-medium fennel bulb
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 10g butter
  • 8 spring onions, trimmed and chopped
  • 1 small garlic clove, very finely chopped
  • 115g breadcrumbs made with coarse country bread or sourdough
  • 10g flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • Leaves from 6 sprigs thyme, chopped
  • Generous grating of nutmeg
  • Finely grated zest of ¼ orange
  • ¼ tsp chilli flakes
  • 10g pistachios, roughly chopped
  • 30g pitted green olives, chopped
  • 1 medium egg
  • 100g ricotta
  • 1.8kg chicken
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

For the rice

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ small onion, very finely chopped
  • 1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
  • ¼ tsp chilli flakes
  • 300g long-grain rice, washed well
  • 4cm piece of cinnamon stick
  • 2 whole sprigs of thyme, and chopped leaves from 2 more
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • 850ml boiling chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley


  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/190C fan/gas mark 6.
  2. Trim the tops of the fennel – they’re usually coarse – removing and reserving any fronds. Quarter the fennel, remove the outer layer if discoloured in patches, and cut out the base from each quarter. Chop the flesh. Heat the olive oil and butter and sauté this until soft – it’s important it’s well cooked. Stir in the spring onions and garlic and cook for another couple of minutes.
  3. Scrape into a bowl and add the bread, parsley, thyme, nutmeg, orange zest, chilli flakes, any fennel fronds you reserved, pistachios, olives, and seasoning. When the mixture cools a little, add the egg and the ricotta. Fork everything together – keep it light – and taste for seasoning.
  4. Stuff the chicken and place the bird into an ovenproof dish 30cm in diameter. Drizzle the extra-virgin olive oil over it and season. Put in the oven and roast for 1 hour 25 minutes.
  5. For the rice, heat the olive oil in a frying pan and sauté the onion until soft and golden, then add the garlic and chilli and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the washed rice, turn it over in the fat and sauté for about 3 minutes. Set aside.
  6. When the chicken has cooked for 50 minutes, take it out of the oven. Spoon the rice around it and add the cinnamon and the whole sprigs of thyme. Stir the orange juice into the boiling stock, then pour over the rice. Season. Return the chicken to the oven and cook for the remaining 35 minutes. The stock should be absorbed by the rice – keep an eye on it and add more stock or water if it gets too dry – and the chicken cooked through: check for doneness by piercing the area between the leg and body; the juices should run clear.
  7. Break up the rice a little and fork in the thyme and parsley.
  8. Cover with foil, insulate with some tea towels and leave the chicken to rest for 15 minutes before serving. Serve in the cooking dish – the rice will have a nice crust on the bottom.

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