Sometimes you just need a really good piece of chicken. The fresh herbs and citrus bring out the best in chicken. I love the aroma that this chicken adds to the house when it is roasting. It is perfect for Shabbat dinner as well as a weekday meal. Quinoa (KEEN-wah) is relatively new to the American table. It is an ancient grain that is hailed as a super food. It is a complete protein, containing all of the eight essential amino acids. It is considered to be kosher for Passover. It is easy to cook and has a fairly neutral flavor. It is very versatile as it picks up the flavors of vinaigrettes, herbs or whatever it is paired with. Quinoa can also be made several days in advance of serving. Quinoa can be found in health food stores and most grocery stores. The quinoa pilaf is perfect for Passover or anytime.
2 whole chickens about 4 pounds each
½ cup fresh flat leaf parsley-chopped
3 tablespoons fresh thyme-chopped
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary-chopped
1 tablespoon chives-shopped
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
Juice and zest of 1 orange
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
2 cups quinoa
1 shallot-peeled and diced
2 cups fresh mushrooms-sliced (use Shiitake, Cremini, button or your favorite)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
½ cup pine-nuts-toasted
Extra Virgin olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 450. Rinse the chickens thoroughly. Pat dry and place on a roasting rack. Place all the remaining ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together.
- Use your hands to thoroughly rub the chickens inside the cavity and out with the herb mixture. Tuck the wings under the body of the chicken and tie the legs together if you wish (this will help keep the shape a little nicer). Roast the chickens for 20 minutes at high heat. Turn down the oven temperature to 200 and slow roast until a thermometer inserted into the thigh registers 160 (occasionally brushing on more of the herb mixture). Remove from the oven and cover the chickens loosely with foil. Allow the chickens to rest before carving. To carve the chickens: Cut down the center along the breast bone on both sides. Remove the breast bone. Pull the chicken apart slightly to expose the back bone. Cut along both sides of the back bone and remove it. Cut the birds into quarters and place on a serving platter.
- Rinse the quinoa under water for several minutes, rubbing the grains together to remove the slightly “soapy” film. Place the quinoa in a medium saucepan and add 4 cups of water. Cook the quinoa over medium heat until it is tender (about 20 minutes). Drain any excess water and lightly drizzle with Extra Virgin olive oil.
Sauté the shallot and mushroom until lightly browned. Add to the quinoa with remaining ingredients. Salt and pepper to taste.