Gabriel Wilson loves to cook, eat tasty foods, and drink a glass of wine—without having to do the washing up.
I love roast chicken. It must be moist (not dry), and I want loads of flavour—but I want a roast chicken flavour that's not overpowered by too many herbs, citrus tangs, or other added ingredients. Placing the stuffing under the skin of the bird keeps the chicken breasts nice and moist. The sausage and herb stuffing benefits from the fat in the skin of the chicken too; as the skin cooks, it releases juices into the stuffing, adding even more of that delicious roast chicken flavour. There are of course other benefits from adding the stuffing to your roast chicken dish: a smaller chicken goes much further making this dish more affordable, and your stale bread gets used up too. Hope you enjoy! Stick to the recipe for the first time, and then add your own innovations once you have mastered this one.
Roast and Rate
Ingredients for the Roast Chicken:
- 1 chicken, approximately 1.5 kilos, whole
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- a sprig of rosemary
- a sprig of parsley
- I/2 a lemon
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
Ingredients for the Sausage and Herb Stuffing:
- a knob of good quality salted butter
- 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil
- 1 small onion, finely diced
- a sprig of fresh rosemary, snipped
- a sprig of fresh parsley, snipped
- 1 pork sausage, de-skinned
- 2 slices of medium white bread (stale is good) blitzed to a rough breadcrumb texture
- 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
- a little sea salt and white pepper to season
- 1 fresh egg, beaten
- string to tie the chicken legs together
- a nonstick roasting tray
- a small pot
- a wooden spoon
- a large bowl
- a tablespoon
- large plate or platter to serve
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Fig 1) Stuffing the Chicken
- Heat the oil and butter in the small pot and add the onion, cook till soft and translucent, stirring with your wooden spoon. There should be absolutely no brown bits.
- Remove from the heat and allow the cooked onion to cool.
- Put your breadcrumbs into the large bowl and add all the ingredients. Add in the cooled onions and, using your hands, mix well together. If this doesn't appeal to you, get one of the kids to do it. Make sure hands are clean, of course.
- Put your fingers between the skin of the chicken breast and the meat of the chicken breast and gently edge your hand under the skin to separate it (as seen in Fig 1). The skin is rather durable but you should still take your time and be gentle with it.
- Using your hand, place small handfuls of the stuffing one at a time between the skin and meat, shaping as you go.
- When you have covered the body of the chicken with the stuffing, pat the skin and shape again.
- Place the herbs, lemon and garlic in the chicken cavity, rub the olive oil into the skin, and sprinkle over the sea salt.
- Tie the chicken legs together with the string. Cover the bird with tinfoil and place in the roasting tray (I use one with a roaster as seen in Fig 2.)
- Place into a preheated oven (220 degrees °f, 105 degrees °c) and cook for 30 minutes, remove the chicken from the oven and baste (spoon over) with the juices in the bottom of the pan. You may need to tilt the pan a little for the juices to flow from the chicken, especially the cavity.
- Put the bird back in the oven and cook for a further 20 mins. Take the chicken from the oven and remove the tin foil. Baste once more with the juices and put the bird back into the oven.
- Reduce the temperature to 190 degrees °F or 90 degrees °C and cook for a further 30 minutes.
- Remove the chicken for one last basting, returning to the oven for a further 15 minutes. Check to see that your chicken is cooked throughly by pulling at the chicken wing. If it comes away easily, the chicken is cooked. The juices will also run clear. If in doubt, insert a metal skewer into the thickest part of the chicken breast, the juices should run clear, which means the meat is cooked.
- Remove the chicken from the roasting tray to a large plate, cover with tinfoil and leave to sit for 10 to 20 mins before devouring, I mean carving.
- Add the juices to your gravy to add extra flavour. Strain your gravy to get a smooth texture.
Fig 2) Succulent Roast Chicken
- Cooking the chicken on a higher heat gives a browner, crispier skin as seen in Fig 2).
- Covering the bird with tinfoil creates extra heat. This cooks the meat quicker but also aids moistness.
- The tinfoil also prevents the skin getting too dark in colour.
- Placing the stuffing under the chicken skin not only looks appetising, it prevents the meat from drying out, resulting in a succulent texture.
- Leaving the bird to sit before carving allows the juices to settle and the stuffing to firm.
- Adding the sausage to the stuffing gives a softer and more moist stuffing that really complements the chicken meat.
- Using a non-stick roasting tray with a roaster is great for achieving optimum juices to add to your gravy.
© 2018 Gabriel Wilson