Roasted Chicken with Za’atar Stuffing

More chicken recipes…this one is INCREDIBLE! It also looks and sounds real fancy when in fact it is just a roast chicken with leftover bread and spices. You may have to trek it out to your local ethnic pet store for the spice. However, Chef John can attest that za’atar is good on EVERYTHING. You will be so happy once this spice is incorporated to your recipe repertoire. My older sister and I are not fans of turkey (even for Thanksgiving), so I made this for her this past Thanksgiving. It was quite the show stopper! I exclusively use Ina’s Roast Chicken recipe as a basic method to my chicken regardless of additions. However, this is the exception as this recipe comes from Eric Ripert. I wouldn’t dare mess with perfection; I follow all of his steps. –ts

1 chicken (approximately 4 pounds)
½ baguette, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 1½ cups)
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 tablespoon minced garlic, plus 1 head of garlic, cloves separated, divided 2 teaspoons za’atar (plus a little extra)
1 teaspoon lemon zest
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

  1. Preheat the oven to 450°. Rinse the chicken and pat it dry.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the bread, parsley, minced garlic, za’atar and lemon zest and toss with ¼ cup of the olive oil to coat evenly. Season the stuffing with salt and pepper. Season the cavity of the chicken with salt and pepper and fill with the stuffing. Tie the legs together with kitchen string. Season the bird on the outside with salt and pepper and drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
  3. Roast for 20 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350° and add the garlic cloves to the pan. Continue roasting for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the juices run clear when the leg is pierced. Transfer the chicken to a platter and let it rest for at least 10 minutes before carving.
  4. Place 2 slices each of breast and leg meat on each plate and spoon some of the stuffing alongside. Spoon some of the pan drippings over the chicken and serve immediately.
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Filed under Bread, Chicken, Comfort food, Main Course, Party food, Special Occasion

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