This wild rice-stuffed chicken is an elegant alternative to the traditional Sunday night roasted chicken dinner. Serve with gravy, mashed potatoes, and green beans.
Preheat oven to 375°.
Heat a nonstick saucepan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion to pan; sauté 4 minutes. Add rice and garlic to pan; sauté 1 minute. Add water to pan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until rice is almost tender. Stir in figs, nuts, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
Remove and discard giblets and neck from chicken; trim excess fat. Starting at neck cavity, loosen skin from breasts and drumsticks by inserting fingers, gently pushing between skin and meat.
Combine remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, butter, and remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Rub seasoning mixture under loosened skin and over breasts and drumsticks. Stuff rice mixture in chicken cavity. Tie ends of legs together with twine. Lift wing tips up and over back; tuck under chicken. Place chicken, breast side up, on a rack coated with cooking spray; place rack in a roasting pan.
Bake at 375° for 40 minutes.
Increase oven temperature to 450°, and bake an additional 20 minutes or until a thermometer inserted in the meaty part of thigh registers 170°. Remove chicken from pan; let stand 15 minutes.
Remove skin from chicken; discard. Carve chicken, and serve with stuffing.
Loosely pack the stuffing in the cavity so air can circulate and the stuffing will reach the appropriate temperature.