|Roast stuffed chicken makes any meal special.|
So, why wait for another holiday? Stuff a chicken right now! For Sunday dinner, when you have time to enjoy the slow-roasting and the aroma that fills the house with a celebratory feel. Even if you are only two or three or four, the leftovers are gratifying.
|Three Kings, from a village Nativity scene.|
In Spain at Christmas (which, by the way, is not over yet, as 12th night and the holiday of Epiphany—Kings Day, when kiddies get their gifts from the Three Kings from Bethlehem is January 6), a favorite item is boned chicken with a stuffing of ground pork and ham. Boned chicken is easy to serve.
|Pork stuffing with dried fruits.|
|Juicy chicken, savory-sweet stuffing.|
Roast Stuffed Chicken
Pollo Relleno con Carne y Frutas Secas
A medium-dry Sherry adds subtle background flavor to the stuffing and the pan juices. If not available, use any white wine. Use any combination of dried fruits. I favored apricots, Málaga raisins* and prunes. If they are very dry and leathery, soak them in hot water for 30 minutes, then drain and add to the stuffing. You can substitute pork sausage meat for the ground pork—but don’t add additional salt to the stuffing. Truffle is an optional, luxurious, addition to the stuffing mixture. Lard can be substituted for olive oil, if desired. Small onions, carrots, potatoes, turnips can be added to the roasting pan, if desired.
*Málaga muscatel raisins, shown in the photo, are the sweetest in the world. They do, however, have seeds.Worth the trouble of de-seeding them.
|Dried fruits go into stuffing.|
Freshly ground black pepper
Sherry (dry or medium), 1 tablespoon + 1 cup
½ pound ground pork or pork sausage
1 ½ ounces chopped serrano ham
1 cup chopped dry fruits (raisins, apricots, prunes, figs)
¼ cup pine nuts
½ cup chopped onions
½ cup fresh bread crumbs
½ cup diced apple
½ teaspoon pimentón (paprika)
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of cloves
Grating of fresh nutmeg
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
Truffles, diced (optional)
1 tablespoon capers (optional)
½ -1 cup chicken stock
Sprinkle the chicken inside and out with salt and pepper. Add 1 tablespoon of the Sherry to the cavity. Allow the chicken to come to room temperature.
Combine the pork, ham and dried fruits in a bowl with ¼ cup Sherry. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a small skillet and toast the pine nuts until golden. Skim them out. Add the onions to the skillet and sauté on medium heat until softened, 3 minutes. Add the onions to the meat with the pine nuts, bread crumbs, apple, pimentón, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, parsley, truffles and capers, if using, 1 teaspoon salt and freshly ground black pepper. Combine well.
Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Stuff the chicken with the mixture of meat and dried fruits. Skewer the neck and body openings closed and truss the chicken with kitchen twine. Place in a heavy roasting pan or in a large skillet. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil.
Roast the chicken for 40 minutes. Add ½ cup Sherry and ½ cup chicken stock to the roasting pan. Spoon some of the juices over the chicken. Roast 40 minutes more, basting occasionally. Add ¼ cup additional Sherry and more stock, if needed. Roast 20 minutes more or until internal temperature of the stuffing reaches 140ºF when tested with an instant-read thermometer.
Remove the chicken to a cutting board and allow to rest at least 10 minutes. Carve the chicken and scoop the stuffing into a serving bowl. Skim the fat off the remaining pan juices. Spoon some of the juices over the chicken and serve the rest in a bowl.