Chicken with Rice and Mushrooms

Recipe from Life is Great

Adapted barely from the July 2011 Issue of The Australian Gourmet Traveller.
Serves 6
Cooking time 1 hour (plus standing) Prep time 20 minutes

Note: I've replaced some ingredients like speck and vermouth with what I have and added some porcini mushrooms. For a halal or non-pork version of this dish, replace speck/bacon with beef bacon or salted fish and the alcohol with chicken stock and a dash of vinegar.


1 chicken (about 1.8 kilograms), at room temperature

1 garlic head, halved horizontally, plus 4 extra cloves, finely chopped
1 bunch each tarragon and thyme, plus extra tarragon leaves to serve (marjoram also works)
30 grams butter, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped

100 grams bacon bits
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
200 grams/1 cup long-grain rice (I used basmati)
120 milliliters Muscat
500 milliliters/2 cups hot chicken stock
150 grams dried porcini mushrooms (optional)
150 grams small Swiss brown mushrooms, halved (larger ones are fine, just quarter them)
2 fresh bay leaves
sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 200°C. Rinse and soak the rice for 20 minutes. Bring the chicken stock to a boil, meanwhile, prep the other ingredients. Remove stock from heat and add in the dried porcini mushrooms if using. Cover and let stand. Rinse chicken inside and out under cold running water, pat dry with absorbent paper and season inside and out with salt and pepper. Stuff with garlic head, tarragon and thyme (reserve 3 sprigs of each), tuck wings under and tie legs together with kitchen string.

Heat butter in a casserole over medium heat, add chicken, turn occasionally until browned on all sides, for about 4-5 minutes. Remove chicken and set aside. Add oil, onion, bacon and chopped garlic to the casserole, stir occasionally until just tender, about 3-4 minutes. Add rice and stir briefly, just to coat. Add Muscat and simmer until reduced by about half, 1-2 minutes. Add chicken stock with the soaked porcini, Swiss mushrooms, bay leaves and reserved herbs. Top with chicken and bring to the simmer.
Cover with a tightly fitting lid, bake until chicken is cooked through and rice is tender, about 35-40 minutes.

Remove from oven and let stand, without removing lid, for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, for prepare the salad of your choice. I made an apple salad which is similar to this pear salad, lightly dressed with just olive oil and grainy mustard. To serve, remove chicken from casserole, tipping chicken so its juices run into the rice. Carve chicken and serve hot with rice mixture, scattered with extra tarragon, and salad.

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