For my mom’s birthday a few weeks back, the “kids” were all pitching in to make a big dinner for her and a few of her friends. However, a big, multi-course meal can become more of a stress-filled task than a relaxing cooking session. To take some of the stress out of it, especially since it was the middle of summer, I decided to make a tasty, deceptively simple dish of stuffed chicken and cranberry-almond couscous. I’d seen Ina Garten make an easy stuffed chicken dish a couple of years back and decided to put a few of my own touches onto it.
Mixing herbs and lemon zest into the goat cheese gave the chicken a really lovely lemony flavor, and the extra lemon, garlic and shallots in the roasting pan created a flavorful pan sauce that did a great job of moistening the couscous. I love using goat cheese whenever possible because it’s easy on the stomach, so lactose-sensitive guests can enjoy it as well.
This dish serves 6.
12 pieces bone-in, skin-on chicken (I used a mix of white and dark meat, but it’s whatever you prefer)
11 oz. goat cheese
4 large sprigs rosemary, chopped
1 1/2 tbsp. fresh thyme, roughly chopped
zest of 2 lemons
3 lemons, cut into eighths
2 large shallots, cut into large wedges
6 garlic cloves
extra virgin olive oil
preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- In a small bowl, combine cheese, zest and herbs. Form into a long log and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. (This can be done the night before.) Slice into 24 1/4-inch slices.
- Wash and dry chicken and place into a large roasting pan. Then, using your fingers, carefully separate the skin from the chicken on one side. Tuck goat cheese rounds under the skin, 2 rounds per piece. Rub the skin with olive oil and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Place lemon wedges, shallot pieces and garlic around the chicken. Bake, uncovered, about 40 minutes, until cooked through. Serve hot.