A while ago a friend asked me for interesting ideas with chicken. I automatically reverted her to the “Chicken” section of my website knowing that I have done pretty much everything with chicken you can. I’ve fried it, braised it in wine and cream, roasted it, grilled it and curried it. I’ve turned it into salads and put it into sandwiches. I thought that she would be satisfied. Nope, she told me. She has cooked pretty much all of those recipes from my site and she wants something new. I would’ve been annoyed if this wasn’t the first time I had been cornered with this request. “Help us make chicken more interesting!” they all shout. (Well not really, but you know, overexaggeration.) And to be honest, I feel the same way. Chicken is on our menu all week, every week. My poor husband, he who hates chicken. But it’s just too easy, nutritious and cost effective not to be. I’ve kind of made it a little challenge for myself to see what all I can do with the humble chicken.
My go-to approach is always to roast a whole chicken. There is nothing as glorious to me as a delicious, juicy roast chicken. I am always surprised to find people don’t like it. Too dry, not enough flavour, blah blah. My standard way of roasting a chicken is to cover it in butter and herbs, add a whole head of garlic to the pan and add a generous glug of wine. This results in the juiciest, most flavoursome roast chicken and has become my favourite way of doing it. But then this idea popped into my head. What if I combine my favourite way of doing roast chicken with one of my favourite side dishes, creamed spinach? I mean let’s be honest, it was an idea that was a bit out there. I, myself, didn’t think it was going to work and didn’t even know if I would be shooting it when it comes out of the oven. But then I did. Because guys, this baby is good. The creamy spinach and feta helps to keep the chicken breast moist and tender while infusing the rest of the chicken with this scrumptious savoury flavour.
And yes, it is a little gimicky and you can just serve the creamed spinach alongside the roast chicken but why not? It’s a new take on and old classic and by golly, it is bloody delicious.
- 200 g baby spinach steamed and finely chopped
- 1/2 cup feta cheese crumbled
- 2 tablespoons sour cream
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1 x 1.5kg fresh chicken
- fresh thyme sprigs
- 1 head of garlic halved
- salt & pepper to taste
- olive oil
- 1 cup white wine
Pre-heat the oven to 180°c.
Combine all the ingredients for the creamed spinach and mix well.
Season the chicken generously all over and place in a roasting tray.
Carefully loosen the chicken breast skin with your hand/a tablespoon, taking care not to tear the skin.
Carefully stuff the spinach and feta mixture under the skin and into the neck cavity.
Add the garlic to the roasting pan. Drizzle the chicken with a little olive oil and top with the thyme sprigs and tie the legs together with a piece of string.
Pour in the wine and allow the chicken to roast for 70-80 minutes or until cooked through.
Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before carving and serving.