Out of the hundreds of recipes I have tried in the slow cooker, this easily comes in my top 5. It might even come close to being my favourite ever. This dish is just a riot of different flavours and I urge you to try it. The photo just doesn't do it justice. I bored my husband silly by going on and on about how delicious the sauce and the stuffing were. He had to agree though. It was outstanding. It was a little more involved than some of my other recipes but not difficult in any way.
I am going to be bossy on just this one occasion though and suggest that you follow the instructions very carefully. This recipe involves stuffing a chicken with pre-cooked rice and, if you get this wrong, the chances of getting food poisoning are a little too high for my liking. And I wouldn't want to inflict that on you., given how delicious this is.
Ingredients for 4:
1/4 cup/ 50 g raisins
1 cup / 250 ml boiling water
2 Italian sausages, mild or spicy (I used Sainsburys Sicilian style)
2 cups / 250 g cooked white rice*
1/2 cup / 50 g pine nuts, toasted (optional)
1/2 cup / 100 g green, pimiento-stuffed olives, halved
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp olive oil
1 roasting chicken, approx 3 lbs, rinsed and patted dry
(if your chicken has been frozen, it must be fully defrosted when you begin cooking)
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp paprika
1/2 cup / 125 ml hot chicken stock
1/4 cup medium dry sherry
* Rice must be cooked, cooled quickly and then refrigerated for a maximum of 24 hours before reheating. You must be sure it is piping hot when reheated.
Switch your slow cooker to High. Pour the boiling water over the raisins in a small bowl and let soak for 15 minutes. Then pop the raisins into a large bowl.
In the mean time, cook the sausages until lightly browned in a frying pan / skillet. Allow to cool and slice into 1 inch / 2 cm lengths. Add to the raisins in the large bowl.
Stir the cooked rice, pine nuts, olives and salt and pepper into the sausage and raisin mixture. Moisten with the olive oil and stuff the chicken loosely with the mixture, reserving any that does not fit. Truss the chicken then rub the chicken with the butter and sprinkle it with the paprika and black pepper.
Brown the chicken briefly in the leftover sausage fat in the frying pan.
Put the chicken into the slow cooker, on top of the leftover stuffing mixture. Pour over the chicken stock and the sherry. Cook on High for 3 1/2 - 4 Hours. Do not cook this recipe on Low.
To be sure your chicken is ready and safe to eat, use an instant-read meat thermometer or similar to check that the centre of the chicken has hit 80 C or 165 F or more. Our rice was well over this when I tested after 3 1/2 hours. Juices should also run clear when the thigh of the chicken is pricked.
You may have already realised that we really, really enjoyed this. The rice kept a slight bite to it, the fiesta of different flavours all kept their separate identities but harmonised with each other and we just couldn't stop eating it. It was insanely good. Make this!