A roast chicken is a welcome family favourite at any time of the year but this Greek-inspired recipe is especially good in the summer. This is based on a recipe by Diana Henry but I’ve changed the cooking method and made a few other tweaks that I think improves it. First, slow roast the chicken stuffed with tomatoes, bread and feta cheese and then add the orzo to soak up all the delicious chicken juices. It’s a fantastic one-pot supper that just needs some green beans, courgettes or a green salad on the side. Once I made my first version of this, I liked it so much I made it again and again. You will too!
- 1 large roasting chicken
- 80g feta cheese, crumbled
- 3 large ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped (you could use sun blush tomatoes too)
- 75g bread, preferably sourdough or country-style, torn into small pieces
- 4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
- 2 garlic cloves, finely grated
- 3 tsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp paprika
- 225g orzo
- 500ml boiling chicken stock
- 1 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
- Get the chicken out the fridge and bring it up to room temperature.
- Preheat the oven to 150C.
- Put the chicken into an ovenproof dish which has enough room around the edge to add the orzo later. Make the stuffing: mix the feta, tomatoes bread, olive oil, garlic, chilli flakes, the dried oregano and a good pinch of salt and black pepper in a bowl. Stuff the chicken cavity with it. Pull the chicken skin flaps either side of the opening over the stuffing and secure it with a couple of cocktail sticks.
- Rub the chicken with the paprika, sprinkle with a little salt and a drizzle of olive oil.
- Roast in the oven for 2 hours. Remove from the oven and spoon away any excess fat but retain the juices.
- Turn the oven up to 200C. Sprinkle the orzo evenly around the chicken and pour on the boiling stock. Return to the oven for a final 20 minutes. Check to make sure the orzo isn’t becoming dry. Just top it up with a little boiling water if needed.
- The chicken should be cooked after 2 and a half hours. Always check by piercing it between the leg and body, the juices that run out should be clear, with no traces of pink. The orzo should be tender and the stock should have been absorbed.
- To serve, as epic as this looks whole in the dish, I like to remove the chicken and carve and joint it or it’s a nightmare to share out; the carcass makes a great stock. Stir the fresh chopped herbs into the orzo and push it to one side of the dish, add back the chicken to the other side and spoon out the stuffing to lay it out in the middle. Let everyone serve themselves and add green veg or salad on the side.
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