I've cooked my way through all 264 recipes
in The New Mediterranean Diet Cookbook!

December 30, 2010

Roasted Chicken with a Middle Eastern Stuffing (p. 406) and Spinach with Onions and Black Olives (p. 309)

It's been over a week since I've last posted -- the holidays make for a busy time! I've done very little cooking over that week, but I did make a big Christmas dinner for me, Matt, and my dad. I wanted to do something semi-traditional, so a roasted chicken seemed the perfect thing.

On  Christmas Eve my dad and I hit up the Fresh Market in Asheville to get all the necessities. The recipe calls for a 5 pound chicken but all the was left was 3.5 pounds, so I had to make do. I think the guy who helped me was just filling in at the counter, because the chicken was wrapped ridiculously.

Also, when I unwrapped it, the giblets were nowhere to be found. No giblets? What's up with that? They were supposed to be cooked down to become part of the stuffing, but I had to skip that step.

I rubbed down the bird with a mixture of garlic, salt, olive oil, and lemon juice and let it marinate in the fridge for a few hours.

While the bird was getting itself all juicy and flavorful in the fridge, I made the stuffing -- sauteed onions, toasted pine nuts, ground beef, pepper, cooked rice, currants, cinnamon, cumin, and saffron sounded like it would make for a pretty amazing combination. I filled the bird up and cooked her for about an hour and a half altogether, adjusting the oven temperature and basting as needed.

The chicken was amazingly moist and delicious.

We all really enjoyed it, especially the crispy skin that the marinade had coated. I was kind of bummed about the stuffing, though. It was good, but with all that stuff in it I had thought it was going to be the best part of the meal. Maybe it was the lack of the giblets?

With this, I prepared a simple spinach side. Just steam down the spinach until it is super tender and then chop it up. In a skillet, sauté sliced scallions in olive oil until soft and then stir in chopped olives and add the spinach back in.

Add black pepper and red wine vinegar, keep over the heat until the vinegar has mostly cooked away, and then serve.

Matt and my dad were kind of dreading this because neither loves cooked spinach, but this dish was surprisingly good -- I think olives can make pretty much anything delicious. This was actually the first part of the meal to disappear.

All in all, a very successful Christmas dinner.

chicken -- $6.59
lemon -- $.89
onion -- $1.20
ground beef -- $2.59
currants -- $2.75 (only used 2 tablespoons of a bulk container)
saffron -- $7.40 (used a large pinch, still plenty leftover)
Total Cost of Roasted Chicken with a Middle Eastern Stuffing: $21.42
($4.28 per serving)

spinach -- $2.50
scallions -- $.88
olives -- $3.30
Total Cost of Spinach with Onions and Black Olives: $6.68
($1.33 per serving)

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Thanks for dropping by! Love, Katrina.