Levengi is used as a stuffing for both poultry and fish. Traditionally, chicken and fish levengi are cooked in a tandir or clay oven, but are easy to cook in your oven at home.
Preparation time: 45 min
Cooking time: 90 min
- 1 medium-sized chicken
- 1 large onion (preferably red)
- 200 g/8 oz walnuts
- 100 g/4 oz piece of lavashana (thin rolled sheet of dried plums or cornelian cherries) or 150 g/6 oz of raisins and 50 g/2 oz of barberries
- 50 g/2 oz butter, melted
- salt & pepper
- Finely chop or grate the onion.
- If using lavashana, soak it in hot water until it dissolves.
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F or Gas Mark 4.
- Rinse the chicken inside and out and pat dry.
- Grind the shelled walnuts with a pestle and mortar or in a food processor.
- Grate the onion and squeeze it in muslin in a sieve to remove excess juice. (If you don’t do this, the lavangi may be bitter.) If using raisins and barberries, crush them with the pestle and mortar or whizz them through the food processor.
- Mix the onion, walnuts, lavashana paste or ground dried fruit, butter, salt and pepper in a large bowl.
- Spoon the stuffing into the chicken’s cavity, packing it firmly inside. Fold the edges of skin over the cavity and fasten with a small skewer.
- Excess stuffing can be cooked separately in the oven.
- Rub salt & pepper and butter into the chicken skin.
- Place the chicken in a roasting tin. Do not cover with foil or the stuffing will become watery.
- Roast in the oven for 90 minutes to 2 hours (allow 1 hour per kilogram of chicken).
- To see if the chicken is cooked, pierce the inner thigh with a skewer or fine knife. If the juices run clear, the chicken is ready.
- Remove the chicken from the oven and leave to rest for 10 minutes before serving.
- Serve with rice pilaff.