1 x 1.5kg chicken
250g minced lamb
1 small onion, finely chopped
1tsp seven spice seasoning
½ tsp pepper
175g easy-cook rice, rinsed in boiling water and soaked in boiling water for 10 minutes
2tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground cinnamon
80g pine nuts, toasted
1 bunch of fresh parsley, chopped
Olive oil, for brushing
Carefully remove the wings from the chicken and discard, or freeze for making stock. Carefully separate the skin from the breast of the chicken with your fingers to make pocket. Heat a skillet or frying pan until hot, add the lamb, and cook over a medium heat, stirring frequently, for 8-10 minutes until evenly browned.
Reduce the heat, add the onion and seven spice seasoning, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes until softened. Season with the salt and pepper.
Drain the rice, add to the lamb and stir well, then stir in the cumin and cinnamon, and cook for another 5 minutes. Pour in about 400ml boiling water to cover and bring back to a boil over a medium heat. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes until the liquid has been absorbed. Stir in the toasted pine nuts and parsley, then remove from the heat, and let cool. To speed this up, you can place the pan in a bowl of iced water.
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Fill the chicken's cavity, neck, and the pocket in between the skin and breast with the rice and lamb mixture, being careful not to tear the skin. Using a trussing needle and thread, sew the skin and breast together and underneath the chicken. Brush the chicken with oil, season with salt and pepper, put it into a roasting pan, and cover tightly with foil. Cook for 1½ hours, then remove the foil and continue to cook for another 30 minutes until the skin is golden brown and crisp.
Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes before carving and serving.
Taken from The Lebanese Kitchen
Ronan Sayburn is head of wines at the Dorchester Collection UK