Chicken Hashweh is traditional Lebanese dish that makes a delicious centrepiece. The spices found in Lebanese 7 Spice are black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, allspice, fenugreek and nutmeg.
1 x 1.5 kg chicken
250g ground (minced) lamb
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 tsp 7 spice seasoning
1 tsp salt
Half tsp pepper
175g easy-cook rice, rinsed and soaked in boiling water for 10 minutes
2 tsp ground cumin
Half tsp ground cinnamon
80 g pine nuts, toasted
Bunch of fresh parsley, chopped
Olive oil, for brushing
1. Carefully remove the wings from the chicken and discard, or freeze for making stock, then separate skin from the breast of the chicken with your fingers to make a pocket.
2. Heat a skillet or frying pan until hot, add the lamb, and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, for 8–10 minutes until evenly browned.
3. Reduce the heat, add the onion and 7 spice seasoning and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes until softened. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Drain the rice, add to the lamb, and mix well, then stir in the cumin and cinnamon, and cook for another 5 minutes. Pour in about 400 ml boiling water to cover and bring back to a boil over medium heat.
5. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes until the liquid has been absorbed.
6. Stir in the toasted pine nuts and parsley, then remove from the heat, and let cool. To speed this up, you can place the pan in a bowl of iced water.
7. Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas 6. Fill the chicken’s cavity, neck, and the pocket in between the skin and breast with the rice and lamb mixture, being careful not to tear the skin.
8. Using a trussing needle and thread, sew the skin and breast together and underneath the chicken.
9. Brush the chicken with oil, season with salt and pepper, put it into a roasting pan, and cover tightly with foil. Cook for 1.5 hours, then remove the foil and continue to cook for another 30 minutes until the skin is golden brown and crisp.
10. Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes before carving and serving.
This recipe for Chicken Hashweh is from The Lebanese Cookbook, published by Phaidon.
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