Four-grain stuffed chicken

Recently I made a new recipe: “four-grain stuffed roast chicken”, for a guest of mine. It turned out reasonably well.

Basic starting point is simply putting a chicken in the oven and roasting it for oh, 35-45 minutes (if you have a meat thermometer it should read 160F). You can try variations such as first browning it on all four sides on the top of the stove for five minutes or so, or turning it on different sides while it is in the oven, but the basic principle of simply applying heat to the bird works perfectly well, as it does for many other pieces of meat.

The bird I used was completely keyword-compliant: organically fed, sustainably raised, free range. Whatever.

This time, I tried stuffing the bird with a mixture of the major grains which have driven human civilization. I took 1/4 cup each of rice, barley, teff, and quinoa; added 2 cups water; and boiled it for 15 minutes or until the water is absorbed. Use chicken stock if you prefer, or add butter or salt. To the cooked grains, which should still be slightly undercooked since they are going to be cooked inside the chicken, add some spices to your liking, be that rosemary, thyme, cumin, what have you; I also added some softly sauteed onions.

One cooking book I have recommends “brining” the chicken”. That involves soaking it in a mixture of water, salt, and sugar for about two hours. Can’t hurt, right?

I then stuffed the chicken, front and back, with the grain mixture. Also, take a half-stick of butter and mash it in your hands with a handful of the grain mixture (fun), and stick that in the bird as well. Then stick it in the oven in a pan with some melted butter. Baste it every 10-15 minutes. Should be done in about 30-35 minutes. Carving it is your problem; try calling on the senior male member of your household.

Oh, I made a sauce by deglazing the cooking pan with a bit of chicken stock, some vinegar, and some sherry and reducing it. Serve the sauce over the chicken and the grain mixture. Good.

We served the chicken with a ceviche and squash soup. The ceviche is trivially simple and truly good. Take some good seafood (we used scallops); add citrus juices such as lime, lemon, grapefruit, or orange; onions; peppers; perhaps some salt and pepper; and give it an hour or two in the fridge. The citrus juices “cook” the seafood, in the sense that they cause a chemical transformation similar to the one that happens when actual heat is applied. This is a staple of Pacific-rim countries such as Mexico and Peru.

The roast squash soup I made by simply cutting up some pieces of squash, laying them on a cookie sheet, dirzzling them with some oil, and leaving them in a 500F oven until they started to brown, about 30-40 minutes. Then I dropped them into a food processor and chopped them up with some cream. Add milk, sour cream, stock, water, or whatever else until you get the soup consistency. You probably won’t need much seasoning, but use salt, pepper, or whatever else as you please.

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