Nut Roasted Chicken with Spinach Orzo

  • Yield: servings


1whole chicken breast 2 3 pounds
1 1/2cups buttermilk
1/2cup finely chopped almonds (raw, not roasted or salted)
1/3cup panko
1teaspoon sugar
1 1/2teaspoons salt
1/2teaspoon pepper
1medium orange
1/2cup chicken broth
1/2cup white wine
For spinach & orzo:
2cups water
1cup chicken broth
1/2cup orzo
3tablespoons olive oil
1-- small, firm pear Bartlett
1/4cup finely chopped carrot
1/2cup coarsely chopped almonds
1/2cup golden raisins
2tablespoons freeze dried red onion (if not available, use 1 medium shallot, minced)
10ounces baby spinach
1/2teaspoon salt
1/4-- pepper


Meanwhile, mix chopped almonds, sugar, panko, salt and pepper in large shallow bowl. Set aside.

Cut orange in half and juice both halves. Add enough water to make 3/4 cup. Reserve one orange half. With the other, zest and discard. Add wine and broth to orange juice; set aside.

Rinse chicken & pat dry. Salt and pepper interior. Peel back skin. Spread 2 T. softened butter under skin. Reattach skin, with toothpicks if necessary, so that all the white flesh is covered. With breast side up, dust lightly with flour. Tap off excess. Brush top and sides with beaten egg. Invert chicken breast into bowl of almond crust mixture. Carefully roll whole chicken to coat top and sides thoroughly. While inverted, place reserved orange half deep inside cavity.

Place chicken in shallow roasting pan, breast side up (with the orange inside, it should rest at a nice 45 degree angle, with the meaty part of the breast highest in the pan).
Mist lightly with canola oil spray. Pour juice & wine mixture into bottom of pan. Roast at 375 for 50-60 min or until meat thermometer registers 180 degrees. (If topping becomes too brown during cooking, cover loosely with foil.) Let rest for 10 minutes. Strain pan juices, add orange zest and cook over med-high heat until reduced by half.

While chicken cooks, prepare spinach orzo. Bring 2 cups water and 1 cup chicken broth to a boil. Add orzo and cook for 9 minutes. Drain.

Toast almonds in toaster oven until just golden, 1-3 minutes. Set aside. In a very large non-stick skillet, heat 3 T. olive oil on medium. Add pears, carrots and onions and saute 6-7 minutes. Add raisins and cook 2 minutes more. Add spinach, cover and cook until wilted, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low. Add orzo, almonds, salt and pepper; stir to combine. Keep warm.

Serve with the spinach orzo mixture spread over a large platter, whole chicken in the middle and sauce on the side.