Saturday, 3 December 2011

Roast Chicken with Lincolnshire Stuffing (may contain traces of awesome)

I like roast chicken.  You like roast chicken.  Let's all eat roast chicken.

We all love a bit of roast chicken.  However, too many of us have had bad experiences with dry breast meat and/or awful jokes about "hur hur do you like leg or breast" that make us go into therapy.  The problem is that the legs take longer to cook than the breast, so you need some way to stop the breasts from drying out without getting salmonella. Here, I've done it the traditional English way by using pork, sage and onion stuffing and covering the breasts with a layer of bacon and butter.

This recipe will serve four.

  • 1 x 1.5kg chicken
  • 25g real butter, plus a little bit more for frying your onions (I always say 25g when I don't know how much I used)
  • Olive oil, to drizzle
  • 4 x Lincolnshire sausages
  • 1 x garlic bulb (that's a bulb, bitch, not just a few cloves)
  • 4-6 x streaky bacon rashers
  • 1 x medium onion
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • Glass of white wine
  • 1 x tbsp plain flour
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Get your chicken out of the fridge an hour in advance.  Preheat your oven to 220 degrees.
  2. Chop your onion in half and finely dice one half.  Gently cook it in a frying pan until it's softened, then put it in a bowl.  Take your sausage, grab it firmly, and gently squeeze and massage the meat out.  Repeat with the other sausages and mix it all with the onions to make the Lincolnshire stuffing.
  3. Carefully slide your fingers in under the skin of the breast and create a gap.  And unto that gap, thou shalt shove thy stuffing.  Rub a liberal amount of butter over the chicken, especially the breasts.
  4. Roughly chop the other half onion and put in in a roasting tin with the garlic bulb.  Lay the chicken on top and roast it in the oven for 20 minutes to crisp up the skin.  After that time, take it out, baste it, cover the breasts with the bacon and cover the whole thing with foil.  Stick it back in the oven, turn the heat down to 180 and roast it at an hour per kilo, basting every 30 minutes.
  5. To check if it's done, pierce the thigh at the thickest point and catch the juices with a spoon - if they're clear, it's done; if not, stick it back in the oven.  If it's done, rest it upside down, covered with foil, in a warm place while you make the gravy (resting upside down lets the juices flow back into the breasts).
  6. Put the roasting tin on the hob on a medium-high heat.  Stir in the flour to cook it out - this will help thicken your gravy.  Squash the garlic and onions down.  Deglaze the tin with the wine, then add the chicken stock and reduce according to taste.  Add any resting juices from the chicken.
  7. Serve with roast potatoes, honey glazed carrots and steamed broccoli.

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