Cheap and Chic: Holiday Chickens and Rice
This meal is affordable and easy yet looks beautiful and tastes sensational when it comes to the table.
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh herbs, such as parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme, chopped
- 1 stick butter, softened
- Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), for drizzling
- 2 large chickens (4-5 pounds each)
- Salt and pepper
- 1 cup white wine
For the Rice and Mushrooms with Watercress:
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- 1 1/2 pounds crimini mushroom caps, quartered
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3/4 cup orzo pasta or broken bits of thin spaghetti
- 1 3/4 cups long grain white rice
- 3 1/2 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup chopped hazelnuts or walnuts
- 2 bunches watercress or upland cress
Pre-heat the oven to 400°F.
Mix the garlic and herbs with the softened butter and spread evenly under the skin over the breasts of the birds. Season both chickens with salt and pepper. Coat a large roaster pan with EVOO and set the birds in skin-side down. Add 1 cup wine, cover the pan with foil and roast for 45 minutes. Then turn and roast birds breast-side up for an hour and 15 minutes more. Remove the foil for the last 20-30 minutes to crisp the skin. Let the meat rest before carving.
An hour before serving, heat 1/4 cup EVOO in a medium size pot over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and brown deeply, 20 minutes or so, then season with salt and pepper. Remove the mushrooms to a plate or bowl and reserve.
Add the butter to the pot and melt. Add the orzo pasta and brown until nutty and fragrant. Add the rice and stir; add the stock and bring to a boil. Cover, lower the heat and cook for 16-18 minutes.
Toast the nuts in a small pan over medium heat. Fluff the rice and mix in the nuts and mushrooms. Toss together with the watercress just before serving alongside the chicken.