This succulent chicken dish hails from Israel and is accompanied by fragrant basmati rice, which although never grown locally, has been a staple in the Palestinian community for centuries.
For the Chicken:
1 whole roasting chicken (3½ pounds,
or 1.6 kg), rinsed, giblets
removed, and dried
2 tablespoons (30 ml) extra-virgin
2 cloves garlic
1 orange, zested and halved
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
For the Rice:
3 tablespoons (45 ml) extra-virgin
olive oil, divided
1 cup (185 g) basmati rice, soaked in
water for 20 minutes and drained
1¾ cups (425 ml) boiling water
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon pure cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
5 cardamom pods
½ teaspoon unrefined sea salt or salt
¼ cup (35 g) pine nuts
½ cup (70 g) golden raisins, soaked
in hot water for 20 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
To make the chicken: Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C). Place the
chicken in a roasting pan greased with olive oil, turning the chicken to
coat in oil. Put the garlic cloves and half of the orange in the cavity of the
chicken and squeeze the juice from the remaining half over the top and
around the base of the pan. Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
Cover with aluminum foil and roast for about 1 hour and 30 minutes
(removing foil after 1 hour, basting every 20 minutes or so), or until juices
run clear from the thigh of the chicken when pierced, or chicken reaches
an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C). (If blood comes out of the thigh
from the piercing, the chicken is not yet cooked.)
To make the rice: After the chicken has been roasting for an hour, begin
preparing the rice. Heat 2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil in a saucepan with
a tight-fitting lid over medium heat. Add the rice, boiling water, allspice,
cinnamon, ginger, cardamom pods, and salt. Stir to combine and increase
heat to high. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and place a paper towel
between the pot and the cover to absorb steam as rice cooks.
Cook until all of the liquid is absorbed, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from
heat and allow to sit, covered, for 10 minutes. Remove lid and paper towel
and fluff rice with a fork. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.
Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil in a small skillet over
medium heat, and add the pine nuts and raisins. Toast until they start to
turn golden and the nuts begin to release their aroma, 3 to 5 minutes.
Scatter over rice.
When the chicken is finished roasting, remove from the oven and cover
with aluminum foil. Allow to rest for 10 minutes, carve, drizzle with pan
juices, and serve hot with rice. Sprinkle orange zest over the top.
Orange zest is a popular addition to many Middle Eastern rice pilafs.
Just one teaspoon of orange peel per week is has been shown to
reduce skin cancer risk by 30 percent.