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Greek whole stuffed chicken with rice and chestnuts

This whole stuffed chicken with rice and chestnuts is usually made for Christmas but you can serve it for any other special occasion like Thanksgiving dinner.
Course Main Course
Cuisine gluten-free, Mediterranean
Keyword chestnuts, chicken, Greek, stuffed
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Servings 5 -6
Author The Hungry Bites


  • 1 whole chicken, about 3-4 pounds (1.5-2 kg)
  • 1-2 tablespoons fine salt

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 9 oz (250 grams) minced beef
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 3 - 4 tablespoons roasted pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 cup boiled chestnuts
  • 3/4 cups basmati or jasmine rice
  • 3/4 cups water

  • 2-3 tablespoons Olive oil for rubbing the chicken
  • Optional: lemon juice for preparing the chicken


  1. Prepare the chicken: rub it inside-out with the juice from one lemon, rinse well and pat-dry (inside-out) really well with paper towels (this reduces any “chicken” odors)
  2. Rub the chicken inside out with the salt, transfer it to a rack and place the rack in a deep pan. Store in the fridge for 24 hours or at least overnight. Keep in mind that the longer you dry the raw chicken, the crispier it will get!

    The next day, take the kitchen out of the fridge and prepare the stuffing.

  3. Heat a saucepan over high heat and add the olive oil and the minced beef. Break any lumps with a spatula and cook until well browned, about 7-8 minutes.

    Add the onion, bay leaves, salt, pepper, allspice, and cumin. Reduce heat to medium and cook until onion is soft, about 3-4 minutes.

    Add the wine and let it evaporate.

  4. Add the rice, stir for 1 minute and then add the water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer until all the liquid have been absorbed, about 3-4 minutes. Rice will be half-cooked.

    Remove from heat, add the pine nuts, the raisins and the chestnuts and let it cool a little.

  5. Preheat your oven to 356°F (180°C).

  6. Lightly rub the chicken with some olive oil and stuff the belly with the stuffing. Keep in mind that the stuffing will puff-up a little during cooking, so don’t overdo it. Secure the skin with a toothpick and wrap the legs with kitchen twine to keep them closed. Tuck the end of the wings under the body to prevent them from burning (I wrap them with some extra twine).

    Put the rest of the stuffing in a small baking dish, add 2-3 tablespoons water and cover with a lid or foil.

  7. Bake the chicken for 1 hour 30 minutes to 1 hour 40 mins (in a fan oven if possible). If by that time the skin is not very browned and crispy broil an extra 5-10 minutes.

    Bake the stuffing next to the kitchen for about one hour, or until rice is done.

  8. Let the chicken rest for 15 minutes before carving.

    Serve with the stuffing and some mashed potatoes.


Recipe Notes

A general rule is to bake the kitchen 20 minutes for each pound adding additional 15 minutes to the total time