Swedish Roast Chicken
with Spiced Apple Rice
This recipe comes from my grandmother, who roasted a chicken for dinner every Sunday night. The chicken is seasoned with cinnamon, cardamom, star anise, and cloves, spices that have been an important part of Swedish cuisine since the eighteenth century, when the Swedish East India Company first brought them to Sweden from Asia.
The spices are used to season the apple-vegetable stuffing as well as the bird. Although some recipes call for roasting chicken at high temperatures, I prefer to cook it at 350 degrees F so that the spices have time to penetrate the flesh inside and out with their flavors. After the chicken is cooked, the stuffing mixture of apples, sweet potato, and onion is added to hot rice, along with a spoonful of yogurt to cool and soften the spicy flavors, and served alongside.
For the Chicken
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 large onion, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 shallots, coarsely chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cardamom pods or 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 star anise
2 whole cloves or 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
2 black peppercorns
4 white peppercorns (or 4 additional black peppercorns)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 3-1/2-pound chicken, preferably free-range
For the Spiced Apple Rice
1 cup long-grain white rice
1 cup water
1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
1-1/2 tablespoons yogurt
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Prepare the Chicken: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Blanch the sweet potato in boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain, rinse under cold water, and drain again. In a medium bowl, combine the sweet potato, onion, apples, shallots, garlic, thyme, and mint. Combine the water and olive oil and add to the vegetable mixture, tossing to coat.
3. Using a mortar and pestle, lightly crush the cinnamon, cardamom, star anise, cloves, black peppercorns, and white peppercorns with the salt. (Or combine the spices on a cutting board and crush with the bottom of a heavy pot.) Add half the spice mixture to the vegetables, and reserve the rest.
4. Rinse the chicken inside and out and pat dry with paper towels. Remove all the excess fat. Lightly stuff the bird's cavity with about half the vegetable mixture and tie its legs together with kitchen string. Place the chicken on a rack in a roasting pan and rub it all over with the reserved spice mixture. Scatter the remaining vegetable mixture around the chicken.
5. Roast for about 1-1/2 hours, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thigh reaches 160 degrees F. After the first hour, or when the vegetables in the pan are tender, remove them from the pan and set aside in a bowl. Check the pan occasionally as the chicken roasts, adding a bit of water if it becomes completely dry.
6. When the chicken is cooked, transfer it to a cutting board. Remove the vegetables from the cavity and add to the vegetables in the bowl. Cover the chicken loosely with foil and let rest while you cook the rice.
7. Add a few tablespoons hot water to the roasting pan, stirring well to deglaze the pan. Pour the liquid into a measuring cup and skim off as much of the fat as possible. Add enough additional water to make 1 cup.
8. Prepare the Rice: Combine the rice, water, deglazing liquid, and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for about 18 minutes, until the rice is tender and all the liquid is absorbed. Remove from the heat, fold in the yogurt and reserved vegetables, and season with salt if necessary and pepper.
9. Carve the chicken and serve with the rice.
And the New Scandinavian Cuisine
by Marcus Samuelsson
$45.00; Hardcover; 312 pages
Full color throughout; more than 100 photographs
Recipe reprinted by permission.
This page created November 2003