Swedish Roast Chicken With Spiced Apple Rice
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Swedish Roast Chicken with Spiced Apple Rice

I came across a wonderful cookbook at my local library that has been a surprise hit in my house for the last few weeks. It’s a book full of recipes from well-known chefs’ mothers. It’s not the prettiest book out there, but this no frills volume is home to some seriously tasty food that was the pure comfort food for many of today’s best chefs.

The first recipe I tried from this book was this Swedish roast chicken. An aromatic, exotic spice blend is rubbed on the chicken which is then stuffed with a blend of sweet potatoes, apples, onions, shallots and garlic. I would have never thought to add fresh mint to roasting veggies, but it went well with the fresh thyme and really gave the veggies an interesting flavor that we enjoyed.

Swedish Roast Chicken With Spiced Apple Rice

Something that totally blew my mind here – this recipe has you deglaze the pan juices from the roast chicken and then add a little water to it and cook the rice in all of that goodness. There’s so much flavor in there! Stirring in a little yogurt with the roasted apples and veggies at the end helped to bind it together. It was super fragrant and absolutely delicious.

This cookbook is definitely on my wish list now. I really liked reading the bios and intros from each chef and seeing what 3-4 recipes they chose to share. There’s a great variety of cuisines represented. Definitely worth checking out!

Swedish Roast Chicken With Spiced Apple Rice
Mom’s Secret Recipe File – Chris Styler
Marcus Samuelsson’s Grandmother (Adapted from Aquavit and the New Scandinavian Cooking)

1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 large onion, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 shallots, coarsely chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cardamom pods or 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cardamom pods or 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 star anise
2 whole cloves or 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
2 black peppercorns
4 white peppercorns (or 4 additional black peppercorns)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 (3 1/2 pound) chicken, preferably free-range

For the spiced apple rice:
1 cup long grain white rice
1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
1 1/2 tablespoons yogurt
Freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2. Blanch the sweet potato in boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain, rinse under cold water, and drain again. In a medium bowl, combine the sweet potato, onion, apples, shallots, garlic, thyme and mint. Combine the water and the olive oil and add to the vegetable mixture, tossing to coat.

3. Using a mortar and pestle, lightly crush the cinnamon, star anise, cloves, black peppercorns, and white peppercorns with the salt. (Or combine the spices on a cutting board and crush with the bottom of a heavy pot.) Add half of the spice mixture to the vegetables and reserve the rest.

4. Rinse the chicken inside and out and pat dry with paper towels. Remove all the excess fat. Lightly stuff the bird’s cavity with about half the vegetable mixture and tie its legs together with kitchen string. Place the chicken in a roasting pan and rub it all over with the reserved spice mixture. Scatter the remaining vegetable mixture around the chicken.

5. Roast for about 1 1/2 hours, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thigh reaches 160°F. After the first hour, or when the vegetables in the pan are tender, remove them from the pan and set aside in a bowl. Check the pan occasionally as the chicken roasts, adding a bit of water if it becomes completely dry.

6. When the chicken is cooked, transfer it to a cutting board. Remove the vegetables from the cavity and and add to the other vegetables in the bowl. Cover the chicken loosely with foil and let rest while you cook the rice.

7. Add 1/4 cup hot water to the roasting pan, stirring well to deglaze the pan. Pour the liquid into a measuring cup, skim off the fat, and add enough water to make 2 cups of liquid. Pour this liquid into a medium saucepan. Add the rice and the salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for about 18 minutes, until the rice is tender and all the liquid is absorbed.

8. Fold the yogurt and reserved vegetables into the rice. Season with salt if necessary and pepper. Carve the chicken and serve with the rice.

Big Flavors Rating: 5 Stars

Ashley Covelli is a food photographer, recipe developer, and culinary instructor based in Ossining, New York. She loves helping people become enthusiastic and adventurous in the kitchen so that they can build skills and confidence to cook for themselves and their loved ones. She can almost always be found with at least 3 different beverages within arm's reach.

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