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Playing Cheap and Chic: Holiday Chickens and Rice


  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • EVOO Extra Virgin Olive Oil, for drizzling
  • 2 large chickens, 4 to 5 pounds each
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup white wine
For the Rice and Mushrooms with Watercress
  • 1/4 cup EVOO Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds cremini mushroom caps, quartered
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup orzo pasta or broken bits of thin spaghetti
  • 1 3/4 cups white long-grain rice
  • 3 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup chopped hazelnuts or walnuts
  • 2 bunches watercress or upland cress


Serves: 6-8


Preheat oven to 400F.

Mix garlic and herbs with softened butter and spread evenly under the skin over the breasts of the birds. Season both chickens with salt and pepper. Coat a large roaster pan with EVOO and set birds in skin-side down. Add 1 cup wine, cover pan with foil and roast 45 minutes. Then turn and roast birds breast-side up for an hour and 15 minutes more. Remove foil for the last 20-30 minutes to crisp skin. Let meat rest before carving.

An hour before serving, heat 1/4 cup EVOO in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, brown deeply, 20 minutes or so, then season with salt and pepper. Remove mushrooms to a plate or bowl and reserve.

Add butter to the pot and melt. Add pasta and brown to nutty and fragrant. Add rice and stir, add stock and bring to boil. Cover, lower heat and cook 16-18 minutes.

Toast nuts in a small pan over medium heat. Fluff rice and mix in nuts and mushrooms. Toss together with watercress just before serving alongside the Garlic-Herb Chicken.