Pan Roasted Chicken With Rice-Fruit Stuffing | The Jewish Week | Food & Wine

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Pan Roasted Chicken With Rice-Fruit Stuffing

A one-pan wonder for Rosh Hashanah.
Pan Roasted Chicken With Rice-Fruit Stuffing

Pan Roasted Chicken With Rice-Fruit Stuffing. Ronnie Fein

Makes 4-6 servings

15 min

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Before you read any more I want you to understand that I am an Ashkenazi Jew, so for me, Rosh Hashanah food means things like honey cake, kugel and carrot soup. Like my grandma and mother before me, I prepare many of our treasured family recipes for holidays. Mandelbread. Babka. Chicken fricassee.

But I also always add a new dish or two because it keeps the meals interesting. Lucky for me, my family is not only willing, but eager, and this year a couple of my extras will be undeniably non-Ashkenazi. I’m serving a few dishes from the treasures of Persian/Iranian/Jewish cuisine.

A proper Persian/Iranian Rosh Hashanah meal includes nine symbolic foods: apples-and-honey, leeks, zucchini or other squash, beets, dates, black-eyed peas or other beans, and pomegranate.

Oh yes, and also cow’s lung and a lamb head.

I’ve actually tasted lung, a long time ago at a kosher hotel in Lakewood, N.J. (it was yummy!). But this “delicacy” is not available as far as I know. As for lamb’s head, well, no. Not for me. And according to what I read, most families substitute tongue for the lamb head and popcorn(!) or fish for the lung. Rice is not one of the symbolic foods, but seems to be a must-have at dinner.

Keeping all of this in mind, my second night menu will begin with a roasted beet and black-eyed pea salad followed by a fragrant and warmly seasoned chicken dish together with a rice stuffing that includes leeks, squash, apples and dates. We’ll have pomegranates to snack on with dessert. Nix the lamb head or tongue.

I’ve tried the dish a few times just to be sure it would be something my family will like.

They will.

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  • 1 cup white rice
  • 1-3/4 cups water
  • 1 medium leek
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup diced winter squash
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 tart apple, peeled, cored and chopped
  • 1 cup chopped dried chopped dates
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 broiler-fryer chicken cut into 8 pieces (or use legs, breasts, etc.)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice or 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper


Place the rice and water in a saucepan, bring to a boil over high heat and cook for one minute. Stir, turn the heat to lowest, cover the pan and cook for 18 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool. Trim the leek, discarding the thick, fibrous green leaves, and chop the tender green and white portion into small pieces. Set aside. Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the squash and cook, stirring often, until the pieces are lightly crispy, about 3 minutes. Add the chopped leek and celery and cook for 2 minutes or until they have softened slightly. Remove the pan from the heat, add the cooled rice, apple, dates, thyme and salt and pepper to taste. Mix thoroughly and set aside (reheat later or keep warm in a warm oven).


Preheat the oven to 425°F. Rinse and dry the chicken parts. Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat and cook the chicken, turning pieces once, for about 8 minutes, or until the skin is lightly browned. Mix the salt, pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and cayenne pepper and sprinkle over the chicken. Place the pan in the oven. Roast for about 12–16 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through (an instant-read thermometer should read 160°F). Spoon the stuffing onto a serving dish, top with chicken parts, drizzle the stuffing with any accumulated juices and serve.