In the summer you can use fresh cherries, pitted, instead of dried ones.
4 lb chicken
salt and pepper
1 tbsp butter, softened for the stuffing
2 tbsp butter
1 onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 cups fresh white breadcrumbs
6 oz creamy goat cheese, in chunks
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
2/3 cup dried sour cherries, soaked in hot water for 15 minutes, then drained
1) Preheat the oven to 375°F. Wash the chicken inside and out and pat dry with paper towels. Season inside and out.
2) Melt the butter for the stuffing in a frying pan and cook the onion until soft but not colored. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Spoon into a bowl and add the other stuffing ingredients. Gently mix (don’t squash the cheese) and season well. Stuff the bird, place in a roasting pan and smear the butter on the outside. Roast for 1 1/2 hours or until cooked through.
3) Spoon the stuffing into a serving bowl. Serve the chicken with the stuffing, lemon wedges, a cucumber salad, and a big bowl of bulgur.
Pelopponese Chicken with Bread, Feta and Tomato Stuffing
Sauté 1 onion, finely chopped, in 1/4 cup olive oil until soft. Add 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped, for 2 more minutes. Add 8 oz cherry tomatoes, chopped, and sauté until soft. In a bowl put 10 slices of bread (such as ciabatta) torn into chunks, 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese, and 1/3 cup chopped dill, parsley, or mint. Add 1 tbsp tomato paste mixed with 2 tsp olive oil, a small beaten egg, the onion, and tomatoes and seasoning. Mix well, then use to stuff the chicken. Season the outside of the bird, drizzle with olive oil, and roast as above.
Saffron Roast Chicken with Azerbaijani Stuffing
Adapted from a Margaret Shaida recipe
Preheat the oven as above. Rinse 6 tbsp basmati rice. Parboil in lightly salted water for 10 minutes. Drain. Chop 1/3 cup each dried figs and apricots and mix with 3 tbsp dried cranberries and 6 tbsp dried cherries. Put in a bowl and cover with just-boiled water. Leave for 15 minutes, then drain. Sauté an onion, chopped, in 2 tbsp butter until soft, then add the rice and stir to coat. Add the fruit with 1/2 cup walnuts or almonds, chopped. Season and cook for 2 minutes, stirring. Dissolve ½ tsp saffron threads in hot water and add 7 tbsp melted butter and the juice of 1 lemon. Season the chicken and stuff with the rice mixture. Put a piece of foil, big enough to tent the chicken, into a roasting pan. Place the chicken on top and pour over the saffron mixture. Pull the foil together and scrunch the edges to make a good seal. Roast for 1 hour. Open the foil and cook for another 30 minutes. Serve with the juices, green salad, and a bowl of chopped cucumber mixed with yogurt and mint.
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Reprinted with permission from Plenty by Diana Henry. Copyright 2017, Mitchell Beazley.
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