Roast Chicken and Hashwe

8 to 10 servings

Hashwe (HUSH-wee) goes by several spellings, pronunciations and variations, but in Lebanese cuisine it consists of a sauteed rice and ground lamb dish that is subtly scented with cinnamon. Traditionally, it was used to stuff roast chicken, but my family now roasts the chicken separately and adds the meat to the dish. When time is tight, simply purchase a roasted chicken.

Serve with pita bread, strained plain yogurt and a salad of romaine lettuce with tomato, lemon and oil.

For the chicken:

3- to 4-pound chicken, giblets removed

2 stalks celery, leaves attached, halved crosswise

1 large onion, peeled and quartered

Olive oil

Paprika

Garlic powder

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 cup water

For the hashwe:

1 pound lean ground beef or lamb

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

11/2 cups long-grain white rice

41/2 tablespoons butter

3 cups chicken broth

3/4 cup pine nuts (may substitute slivered almonds or cashews)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Pat the chicken dry. Place it in a large roasting pan. Stuff the celery and onion in the cavity. Rub a couple of tablespoons of oil over the skin and season with paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste. Pour the water around the chicken.

Roast the chicken for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 375 degrees and roast for about 1 hour, basting occasionally, until the juices run clear and a thermometer inserted in the leg registers 180 degrees.

While the chicken is roasting, make the hashwe: In a Dutch oven over medium heat, cook the ground beef, using a wooden spoon to crumble it, until no trace of pink remains. Drain the beef, discarding the drippings.

Season the beef with cinnamon, salt and pepper to taste and stir to combine. Add the rice and 2 tablespoons butter and cook, still over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the butter melts and the rice is coated. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Do not stir.

In a skillet over medium heat, melt 1/2 tablespoon of butter. Add the nuts and cook, stirring constantly, until golden brown. Remove from the heat.

Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and set aside until cool enough to handle. Discard the skin. Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces.

Add the chicken, 1/2 cup of toasted nuts, remaining 2 tablespoons butter (or more, if you prefer) and plenty of salt and pepper to the hot rice mixture and stir to combine. Sprinkle with the remaining nuts and serve immediately.

Per serving (based on 10): 497 calories, 38 gm protein, 26 gm carbohydrates, 26 gm fat, 126 mg cholesterol, 9 gm saturated fat, 213 mg sodium, 1 gm dietary fiber