RECIPE TITLE "Georgian Stuffed Chicken"
recipe from Feast , Copyright 2006 by Nigella Lawson
... more great recipes by Nigella Lawson on our GREAT CHEFS page!
serves 8 ---moderate
I am never so innocently happy as when making roast chicken. This is a more work-intensive take on it, but the supreme dish for a feast: the bronze-breasted, crisp-skinned birds come to the table bursting with their sour-sweet rice stuffing. As I've said about turkey, in a very primitive way, the stuffing is meant to remind us of the fullness of life, which is what a feast essentially celebrates.
The rice stuffing takes on a deep savoury meatiness as it absorbs more flavour than you ever thought a chicken could have, but the only problem is you don't get much more than a spoonful or two per person like this. You do lose some flavour, but it's worth cooking a batch of the rice mixture in a saucepan, too, in which case use chicken stock (mine is, as ever, concentrated-instant not freshly made, though fresh organic stock from a supermarket tub would be a wonderful alternative) rather than water as you need to oomph up flavour. And when the rice in the pan is cooked, fork in a little butter as you add the parsley, sprinkling with more parsley and a few toasted pinenuts in the serving dish.
Please don't feel this Georgian stuffed chicken must be cooked only as a part of the full-on feast. I don't deny it's particularly good with the beetroot and beans on pages 313 and 315, neither of which could remotely be called quick everyday recipes, but without the cheesebread and melon beforehand, this makes a fabulous weekend lunch that wouldn't be ludicrously exhausting to make. Especially since the beetroot can be wrapped in foil and roasted the night before as you veg out in front of the TV, leaving you with a not too labour-intensive morning ahead and a lunch that's really worth inviting people to.
As part of a feast, though, no part of this meal requires defence or apology for the work involved. A feast demands concentrated effort and there is no point embarking on one unless you take a policy decision to enjoy the bustling preparations. This may not be possible very often, but when it is, try and go with it. If you choose to cook, it can, in the right frame of mind, feel like a devotional activity, a way to celebrate being alive; if you're forced into it, then it's drudgery.
2 x 2.25kg chickens
30g soft butter
FOR THE STUFFING
60g butter (plus fat from inside the chicken cavity)
2 cloves garlic
200g basmati rice
80g dried sour cherries, roughly chopped
4 tablespoons chopped parsley
For the stuffing, melt butter along with any gobbets of fat from the chicken's cavity in a wide saucepan (one that has a lid). Process or finely chop the onion and garlic, and add to the pan with the butter, frying over a medium heat until the onion softens and begins to colour.
Discard bits of the rendered chicken, add the rice and chopped cherries, and give everything a good stir so that the rice becomes slicked with the fat. Add the water and a sprinkling of salt and bring to the boil, then clamp on the lid and cook at the lowest heat possible for 15 minutes. While the rice is cooking, preheat your oven to gas mark 7/220°C. When the rice is ready, by which I mean, all the water will be absorbed and the rice be more or less cooked, fork through the chopped parsley and season with salt and pepper.
Spoon the cherry-studded rice into the cavities of both chickens, and secure the openings with two or three cocktail sticks. The easiest way to do this is to pinch together the flaps of skin from each side of the cavity and make a stitch to hold them with a cocktail stick.
Rub the secured chickens with the butter and roast in the oven for 1 1/2-2 hours. The skin should be golden and crispy and the meat cooked through; test by piercing the bird between thigh and body and if juices run clear, the chicken's ready. The reason why the chickens take longer than you would normally give them is twofold: in the first instance, the rice stuffing impedes the flow of hot air; in the second, having two birds in the oven tends to make each take longer to brown.
Pull out the cocktail sticks and let the chickens rest before carving.
|Nigella Express: 130 Recipes for Good Food, Fast
The Domestic Goddess is back, and this time it's instant. Nigella and her style of cooking have earned a special place in our lives, symbolizing all that is best, most pleasurable, most hands-on, and least fussy about good food. But that doesn't mean she wants us to spend hours in the kitchen, slaving over a hot stove.
Featuring fabulous fast foods, ingenious shortcuts, terrific time-saving ideas, effortless entertaining tips, and simple, scrumptious meals, Nigella Express is her solution to eating well when time is short. Here are mouthwatering meals, quick to prepare and easy to follow, that you can conjure up after a day in the office or on a busy weekend, for family or unexpected guests. This is food you can make as you hit the kitchen running, with vital advice on how to keep your pantry stocked, and your freezer and fridge stacked. When time is precious, you canít spend hours shopping, so you need to make life easier by being prepared. Not that these recipes are basic, though they are always simple, but it's important to make every ingredient earn its place, minimizing effort by maximizing taste.
Here too is great food that can be prepared quickly but cooked slowly in the oven, leaving you time to have a bath, a drink, talk to friends, or help the children with their homework, minimum stress for maximum enjoyment.
Nigella Express features a new generation of fast food, never basic, never dull, always doable, quick, and delicious.
Featuring recipes seen on Food Networkís Nigella Express series. Click here to buy
|Feast: Food to Celebrate Life
If you consider eating with friends and family a joyful, indulgent celebration chances are you love a good feast. And who better to carefully guide you through the daunting task of preparing that Feast than the domestic goddess herself Nigella Lawson. Written in the tradition of Nigella Bites and How to Eat, Feast is a cookbook for the sensualist that wants to eat very well, but also wants to spend time enjoying the company of their guests instead of struggling with the creation of the meal. What sets Lawson apart is not that she's a good cookbook writer, but a strong writer period. Similar to her other books, Nigella's Feast is presented as part personal memoir, part educational, and part recipe presentation. There is a nice blend of occasions including the obvious (Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's, and Easter), a few culturally specific ones (Rosh Hashanah, Georgian Feast, and Venetian Feast), feasts for kids, for vegetarians, and an elegant cocktail party. Each chapter begins with an overview of that particular "Feast." Generally, there is a personal story and experience told, an overview of the cultural importance of the feast, and a description of foods that are associated with each occasion. Impressively, every recipe begins with a personal anecdote giving that impression Nigella didn't just throw it in the book, but is experienced with the recipe and has used it with success. Take her twist on the decadent Chocolate Guinness Cake for example: "I wanted to make a cream cheese frosting to echo the pale head that sits on top of a glass of stout. It's unconventional to add cream but it makes it frothier and lighter which I regard as aesthetically and gastronomically desirable." Who can argue? The cake is to die for. So next time you need to prepare a dinner party let the goddess be your guide, and remember: Keep the preparation simple, use easily available ingredients, and take time to enjoy your guests and your meal. Feast may not be the most advanced cookbook you will own, but if you want to create excellent food with relative ease in a short amount of time, you can not beat Nigella. --Rob Bracco Click here to buy
|How to Eat: The Pleasures and Principles of Good Food
"Cooking is not about just joining the dots, following one recipe slavishly and then moving on to the next," says British food writer Nigella Lawson. "It's about developing an understanding of food, a sense of assurance in the kitchen, about the simple desire to make yourself something to eat." Lawson is not a chef, but "an eater." She writes as if she's conversing with you while beating eggs or mincing garlic in your kitchen. She explains how to make the basics, such as roast chicken, soup stock, various sauces, cake, and ice cream. She teaches you to cook more esoteric dishes, such as grouse, white truffles (mushrooms, not chocolate), and "ham in Coca-Cola." She gives advice for entertaining over the holidays, quick cooking ("the real way to make life easier for yourself: cooking in advance"), cooking for yourself ("you don't have to belong to the drearily narcissistic learn-to-love-yourself school of thought to grasp that it might be a good thing to consider yourself worth cooking for"), and weekend lunches for six to eight people. Don't expect any concessions to health recommendations in the recipes here--Lawson makes liberal and unapologetic use of egg yolks, cream, and butter. There are plenty of recipes, but the best parts of How to Eat are the well-crafted tidbits of wisdom, such as the following:
* "Cook in advance and, if the worse comes to the worst, you can ditch it. No one but you will know that it tasted disgusting, or failed to set, or curdled or whatever."
* On the proper English trifle: "When I say proper I mean proper: lots of sponge, lots of jam, lots of custard and lots of cream. This is not a timid construction ... you don't want to end up with a trifle so upmarket it's inappropriately, posturingly elegant. A degree of vulgarity is requisite."
* "Too many people cook only when they're giving a dinner party. And it's very hard to go from zero to a hundred miles an hour. How can you learn to feel at ease around food, relaxed about cooking, if every time you go into the kitchen it's to cook at competition level?" --Joan Price Click here to buy
|Nigella Bites: From Family Meals to Elegant Dinners -- Easy, Delectable Recipes For Any Occasion
Nigella Bites--the title is taken from Nigella Lawson's Style Network cooking show of the same name--is the third book from British Vogue food editor and New York Times food columnist Nigella Lawson, a force of nature all her own. Her other books include How to Eat and How to Be a Domestic Goddess. Fans of the TV show will find all these easy-to-follow recipes familiar, and the book is even designed with pages for note taking at the end of each section.
Nigella Bites is divided into chapters that include "All-Day Breakfast," "Comfort Food," "TV Dinners," "Party Girl," "Rainy Days," "Trashy," "Legacy," "Suppertime," "Slow-Cooked Weekend," and "Templefood." "Templefood" refers to the "body as a temple," and Lawson shares what she calls "restorative" recipes, like the raw egg and brandy hangover cure called Prairie Oyster. Hot and Sour Soup and Gingery Hot Duck Salad are also present and accounted for.
It's all self-referential. Lawson (her chapter introductions are printed in 26-point type for the hard of seeing) holds nothing back about what she likes, how she overindulges, how she works her lifestyle into the kitchen and onto the table. It's encouragement by example, with a practical twist. You aren't going to spend hours in the kitchen midweek. That's a reward you save for the weekend. But there's plenty of deliciousness to be had midweek as well, and Lawson's there to help you along your way. --Schuyler Ingle Click here to buy
|Forever Summer (Style Network's) (Style Network's)
"Nigella is an icon." -- Gourmet
"Vivid and fresh." -- People
"Brings to life the sensual aspects of cooking, helping you understand the pleasure of the journey." -- New York Times
"Nigella Lawson has done more than anyone recently to revive the art of cooking for the sheer fun of it." -- Bon Appetit