Roast Chickens with Lebanese Rice and Pomegranate Jus
- ACTIVE: 30 MIN
- TOTAL TIME: 1 HR 30 MIN
- SERVINGS: 6
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Two 3 1/2-pound chickens
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 1/2 cups (10 ounces) medium-grain rice, such as arborio
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup pine nuts
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds
- 1/2 pound lean ground lamb or beef
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 1/2 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
- Preheat the oven to 350°. Lightly oil a large roasting pan and set the chickens in it. Rub the outside of each chicken with 1/2 teaspoon of the allspice and season the cavities with salt and pepper.
- Roast the chickens for 30 minutes. Add 1 cup of water to the roasting pan and roast for 40 minutes longer, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of a thigh without touching the bone registers 165°. Transfer the chickens to a large platter and cover loosely with foil.
- Meanwhile, in a fine-mesh sieve, rinse the rice under cold water until the water runs clear. Drain well. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the pine nuts and almonds and cook over moderate heat, stirring until golden, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the nuts to a plate.
- Add the ground meat to the saucepan and cook, stirring and breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until no pink remains, about 3 minutes. Stir in the rice, cinnamon, 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt, 1/4 teaspoon of pepper, three-fourths of the toasted nuts and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of allspice. Add 2 1/2 cups of the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Cover the rice and cook over low heat for 10 minutes. Stir, then cover and continue cooking until the stock has been absorbed and the rice is tender, about 5 minutes longer. Remove the rice from the heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork, transfer to a large bowl and sprinkle the remaining toasted nuts on top.
- Meanwhile, pour the roasting pan juices into a small saucepan and skim off the fat. Set the roasting pan over 2 burners and heat until sizzling. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of stock and cook over moderately high heat, scraping up any browned bits stuck to the bottom and side of the pan with a wooden spoon. Strain into the saucepan and whisk in the pomegranate molasses. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a warmed gravy boat.
- Carve the chickens and serve with the rice and pomegranate jus.
A light, fruity white will play off the chickens' sweet spice rub and fruity sauce. Try one from Italy.