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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Stuff That

As my regular readers (and dinner guests) will have guessed by now, I love roast chicken and our new obsession, slow-cooked chicken. On that note, here's a big high five going out to Giffy and Morgue, who did a slow cooker high 5 for us all the way over in Edinburgh :) Can you get any further on the other side of the world?

But as a post topic goes, it gets pretty mundane to read yet another version of how to cook a chook. So for this recipe I kept the chicken itself really plain and simple - just salt, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil on the skin. What makes it interesting is the stuffing. It's been years since I tried making stuffing, and I seem to recall that back then it didn't come out very well at all. Accordingly, I never tried again.

Until now. Sometimes my food inspiration comes from using up whatever we happen to have left in the kitchen or what might actually be growing in the garden, and this is one of those times. So next time you've got a whole chicken to cook,I say to you: Stuff That!

Herbed Apple Stuffing

(serves 1 chicken)
In a mixing bowl, blitz up 2 slices of bread into crumbs. While stale bread is fine for this, for some reason stale breadcrumbs aren't. Finely dice half a small apple, preferably as sweet and juicy as you can find. I used Pacific Rose. Also, the sharper your knife, the less juice you'll lose in the chopping process (thanks to Gallimaufree for the tip). Add the apple and an onion similarly diced to the breadcrumbs. Finely chop 5 fresh sage leaves and the leaves from a sprig or two of oregano, and add these to the bowl. Grate in the zest of half a lemon, and season with freshly ground salt and pepper. Add an egg and mix thoroughly. If the mixture is too dense, add a little olive oil until it reaches a light but compact consistency. Force it all together with a rubber scraper and jam it into the chicken's cavity. Truss the legs with some cooking twine and cook however you prefer.
I slow-cooked ours in the crockpot on low for about 6 hours, but you should able to roast it just as easily by the usual methods.
When the chicken is done, joint and carve as per normal, then extract the stuffing and slice like bread. It should be moist but not soggy, and adds an explosion of flavour to the plate. Nom nom nom. Suddenly I want roast chicken...

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