Herbed Chicken with Spinach Stuffing
Herb-seasoned and roasted whole chicken with a savory spinach stuffing with chopped ham, red bell pepper, green onions and pine nuts.
1 (5 to 6-pound) whole roasting chicken
1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon dried basil, crushed
1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
2 (10-ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
4 ounces fully-cooked ham, chopped
3/4 cup soft bread crumbs
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1/3 cup pine nuts or slivered almonds
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
- Rinse chicken; pat dry with paper towels. Brush with oil. In a small bowl, combine basil, oregano, parsley, salt, garlic powder, and pepper. Sprinkle over chicken; rub in with your fingertips. Cover and chill for up to 24 hours.
- For stuffing, combine the spinach, bell pepper, ham, bread crumbs, green onions, nuts and butter. If desired, cover and chill up to 24 hours.
- Slip your fingers between the skin and breast meat of the bird, forming a pocket. Spoon some of the stuffing into pocket. Spoon some of the stuffing loosely into the neck cavity. Pull neck skin to back; fasten with a small skewer. Lightly spoon the remaining stuffing into the body cavity. Tuck drumsticks under the band of skin that crosses the tail. If there is not band, tie drumsticks to the tail. Twist the wing tips under the chicken.
- Place stuffed chicken, breast side up, on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Insert a meat thermometer into the center of an inside thigh muscle. The bulb should not touch the bone. Roast, uncovered, in a 325°F (160°C) oven for 1 3/4 to 2 1/2 hours or until meat thermometer registers 180°F to 185°F (85°C). At this time, chicken is no longer pink and the drumsticks move easily in their sockets. When two-thirds done, cut band of skin or string between drumsticks so thighs will cook evenly. Remove from oven; cover with foil. Let stand for 10 to 20 minutes before carving.
Makes 10 servings.