This recipe comes from my brother Marwan, and I. We wanted to create a recipe that showcases dates, so we decided to start with one of our favorite dinners: a simple roasted chicken. Using simple spices from our pantry (cinnamon, peppercorns), and herbs from our backyard (thyme and rosemary) we were able to make a delicious, satisfying dinner that also salutes our Mediterranean roots. Hope you enjoy! —Merna
For the chicken:
Create the Date Reduction: in a medium saucepan, heat the butter on medium heat until melted. Add the dates, cinnamon stick, peppercorns, thyme, and rosemary. Stir the ingredients until fragrant.
Add the wine and stir till it reduces to about half the original amount.
Add the stock, and let the mixture reduce till thick and approx half the original amount. Allow to cool to room temperature
While the date reduction cools, prep the chicken. Rinse the chicken with vinegar, then pat dry with a paper towel. Rub the entire chicken with a generous amount of salt and pepper. Butterfly the chicken by creating an incision along the spine to allow the chicken to lay flat.
Rub the reduction all over the chicken. Add the olive oil, and continue to rub all over. Try to get the reduction under the skin as well for added flavor (marinated chicken may be allowed to rest overnight in the fridge).
Heat the oven to 485F. Place the chicken flat on a wire rack. Roast the chicken for approx 45 min, or until an instant read thermometer inserted in the chicken reads 150F (reduce the heat to 450F if the chicken darkens too quickly). Allow chicken to rest for ~10 min before carving.
For the vermicelli rice:
Rinse the rice in lukewarm water. Drain and set aside.
In a medium pot, heat the butter or vegetable oil on medium-high. Add the vermicelli noodles and continuously stir to evenly coat with the butter.
Once the vermicelli turns golden brown, add the rice and continue to stir for another 1-2 mins. Add salt to season the rice, and add water. Once the water begins boiling, lower the heat to low and cover pot with a tightly fitting lid until all water gets absorbed.
Fluff rice with fork, and serve alongside the date roasted chicken.