Stuffed Chicken in Soup


        1 tender 4-lb. chicken
        3/4 cup rice
        1/4 cup parsley, chopped
        1 cup ground meat
        1/2 cup rice
        1 tsp. salt
        1/4 tsp. pepper
        1/4 tsp. cinnamon
        1/4 cup pine nuts
        1/2 Cup Water
        1 small tomato, chopped (optional)
Shourabat ed djaaj is a Lebanese feast day speciality. After the bird is stuffed it is stewed gently and the rich broth which results makes the first course of the feast. In Lebanon the chickens are carefully prepared for stuffing. They are washed first with soapy water and scrubbed with a vegetable sponge called a loufah. Next the soap is thoroughly rinsed off, the body cavity of the bird is rubbed with flour to absorb any gamey taste, and then the flour is rinsed away.

Prepare stuffing and fill body and neck cavity of bird. Sew tightly closed with heavy thread. Cover chicken with slightly salted water and bring to a boil. Skim. Place scalded chicken in pressure cooker with 3 1/2 cups of water, one teaspoon salt and a stick of cinnamon. Cook at 15 pounds pressure for 30 minutes. (Older chickens may require up to 45 minutes under pressure.) Remove chicken with a little broth to oven-proof pan and keep warm in slow oven while preparing the soup. Add the 3/4 cup of rice to the broth in the pressure cooker and cook under pressure for eight minutes. Open cooker, season and add more water if soup seems too thick. Pour soup into serving bowls and sprinkle with parsley and cinnamon when bringing to the table. Carve the chicken and arrange the meat with mounds of stuffing on a serving platter. Pass some of the reserved broth as a sauce. Complete the meal with salad, cooked vegetables and laban.

Prepare this stuffed chicken in an open pan if you like. Stuff the chicken as above and place in a stewing kettle with water to cover. Add salt. Bring to boil and skim. Add cinnamon stick and simmer until chicken is tender. Remove chicken and a cup of broth in which it will be re-heated later. To the broth in the pan add the rice and boil until tender. Serve as above. Serves 8 persons.

(From Food from the Arab World Marie Karam Khayat and Margaret Clark Keatinge, Khayat's, Beirut 1959)