Sausage and Rice-Stuffed Chicken Legs with Apricot Glaze
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 pound sweet Italian sausage, removed from casings
- 1/4 cup finely chopped onions
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped carrots
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped celery
- 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
- 1 teaspoon minced orange zest
- 1/2 cup long-grain white rice
- 1/4 cup golden raisins
- 2 tablespoons toasted almond slivers
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 2 cups apricot jam
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 cup fresh orange juice
- 8 boned (except for the knuckle or joint at the bottom of the drumstick) chicken legs, the thigh and the drumstick all in 1 piece
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook, breaking it up with a spoon, until browned, about 5 minutes. Add the onions, carrots, and celery and cook, stirring, until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and 1/2 teaspoon of orange zest and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the rice and stir until it turns opaque, about 3 minutes. Stir in the raisins, almonds, parsley, thyme, cinnamon, and salt. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Stir, reduce the heat to low, cover and cook until the rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Remove the rice from the heat and let sit for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and spread on a baking sheet to cool.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Meanwhile, in a saucepan make the glaze by combining the jam, remaining 1/2 teaspoon orange zest, sugar, and orange juice. Whisk to combine and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until reduced by half, 8 to 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Pull the skin up around the filling and secure shut with a toothpick. Coat with the apricot glaze and bake until the chicken is tender and cooked through, 25 to 30 minutes, re-applying the glaze twice. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.
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