I kid you not, this was probably the BEST Roast Chicken I have ever cooked. Wether it was the quality of the bird, the moist and flavour packed stuffing, the lashings of butter under and on top of the skin or the fact that I have mastered my meat thermometer, The Meater (link below), I do not know. I do know that whatever I did, this Bird will go down in Em’s Food history. I promised myself that I wouldn’t eat all of the leftovers (as I love nothing more than gnawing on a bit of leftover chook) but low and behold, I ate them. All of them……like a woman frenzied and even the next day, cold from the fridge, it was still moist and delicious. Do yourself a massive flavour…….cook it!
I did use a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the breast, right on the end of the chook and all the way in. The perfect temperature for a cooked chicken internally is 74°C. Otherwise a good guide is about 30 minutes per 500gms.
Prep time: 20 Minutes
Cooking Time: Varied, depending on size of bird
$$ Medium Budget
Serves 4 with leftovers
1.7kg Free Range Chicken
3 slices of Rye or Sourdough day old bread
1/2 a brown onion, very finely diced
1 tsp of dried tarragon
1tsp of dried oregano
1/2 cup of dried cranberries
1/4 cup pine nuts
50gm of speck sliced into lardons (little batons)
6 sage leaves, finely chopped
8 whole sage leaves
75gm of butter at room temperature
Sea salt and cracked pepper
Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
2 cups of dry white wine
Preheat the oven to 220°C
Cut the bread into chunks, crusts and all and place in a small food processor. Blitz until you have nice fine (but not too fine) breadcrumbs. Transfer to a bowl.
Heat a small frypan and fry the speck lardons until golden. Once cooked transfer to the breadcrumb bowl along with the onion, dried herbs, cranberries, pine nuts, chopped sage, egg and season with salt and pepper. I found it easier to really work the stuffing with my hands so that it was super sticky and moist. If the mixture feels a little dry, just add a splash of water.
Make sure the inside of the chicken is clean and dry and then rub a little butter on the inside of the chicken cavity before packing with handfuls of stuffing. Really push it in, nice and tight and once it is all in grab six of the sage leaves and lay them across the stuffing at the entrance before crossing the legs and tying with string.
Gently lift the skin at the bottom of the chicken, leg and breast end and run your fingers gently under it, all the way back to the wings. Use half of the remaining butter to rub between the skin and flesh and then lay a sage leaf between the skin and flesh of each breast (see image).
Use the remaining butter to rub over the top of the chicken before placing the chicken on a rack, inside a baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper before pouring 1 cup of wine and 1/2 a cup of water in the bottom. If using a thermometer, insert it now.
Place in the oven at 220°C for 10 minutes, then turn the oven down to 180°C. If using a thermometer the chicken is cooked when it reaches 74°C internally which took approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes. Once it reaches that temperature, remove it from the oven and allow to rest, loosely covered with foil for approximately 15 minutes. Top the tray up with the remaining wine about half way through and use the liquid to make gravy or just drizzle over the chicken.
Once the chicken is rested, carve it and serve with your favourite roast veggies and gravy.
This is the most amazing meat thermometer. It is not super cheap but if you love roasting, it is brilliant. https://meater.com
You might want to cook this delicious side to accompany your Roast Chicken https://emsfoodforfriends.com.au/whole-cauliflower-au-gratin/
Leftover Sage? You may want to cook this and substitute the Pancetta with the leftover Speck https://emsfoodforfriends.com.au/pork-pancetta-sage-pot-pies-with-parsnip-topper/