Saturday, 15 September 2012

Roast Chicken & Gorgeous Stuffing with Creamed Corn

Another “old” recipe then this. And another taken from Economy Gastronomy. The main concept of the book of course is to buy the best ingredients that you can afford but then make these ingredients work harder for you and in particular choose a “bedrock” key ingredient the leftovers of which can easily be made into at least one other meal.

Here then the bedrock is a a good old chicken - and as a good a one as you can afford, at the very least it should be free range. The initial meal, as I’ll detail here, was a rather lovely roast, and then the leftovers were transformed into a chicken pie with the carcass and bones working their magic in the stock for a hot and sour soup.

The overriding notion is one that I actually try and follow myself as much as possible, as can be seen by the recent lamb ragu recipe. But really I should also be trying to whole chickens more often, and not just for roasting. The price difference for a start is massive - compare the price of a whole chicken to a couple of free range breasts. And the freedom of choice you then have (once you get round the initial trickiness of jointing your own bird) with meals is enormous.

Twice Stuffed Chicken with Creamed Corn and Parsley Potatoes
serves 2
 (with enough leftover chicken for chicken pie)

50g butter
125ml good chicken stock
110g or so of baguette (roughly ¼), stale for preference
40g smoke pancetta lardons
15g flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 banana shallot, peeled and thinly sliced
zest of ½ lemon
3 slices Parma ham, 1 slice of which chopped
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 medium chicken (around 1.2 - 1.3kg)
8 sage leaves
1 tbsp olive oil
500g potatoes, peeled and halved
another 500ml good chicken stock
1 shallot, finely chopped
2 sweetcorn cobs
few sprigs thyme, leaves picked
30g butter
20g flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 200C.

In a small saucepan melt 50g of butter in 125ml chicken stock. Meanwhile tear the bread into finger tip sized pieces into a big mixing bowl and stir in the pancetta, parsley, shallot and lemon zest.

Pour in the butter / stock mix and then add the chopped slice of ham. Season and set aside for about 20 minutes.

Wet your fingers and gently ease them under the skin of the chicken breast, gently wiggling to loosen the skin from the breast on each side. Gently moisten the cavity on each side and then wet the ham slices and ease one into each side, making sure the whole of the breast is covered and you’ve got right inside the cavity. Wet the sage leaves and slide 4 in on each side on top of the ham.

Sit the chicken in a roasting tray and stuff with the bread stuffing mixture. Close up the chicken cavity with a wooden skewer then rub the bird all over with the olive oil and season well. Cook the chicken breast-side down for the first 35 mins or so in the middle of the oven (this helps to ensure it will be lovely and moist) and then turn over for a final 20 minutes to brown.

When you’ve turned the chicken over for the final 20 minutes, cover the potatoes in cold salted water, bring to the boil then simmer for about 20 minutes until they are just cooked.

Meanwhile, stand the corn cobs on their flat ends and using a sharp knife cut down vertically to remove the kernels. Fry the shallots and corn in 30g butter over a high heat, stirring so that everything is coated. Turn the heat down a little, stir in the thyme leaves then leave with a lid on for 5 minutes.

Turn the heat off, season well and the pound the kernels with the end of a rolling pin, or even a potato masher until the corn is starting to get creamy.

Take the chicken out of the oven, remove from the pan and leave to one side to rest on a warm plate, loosely covered with foil. Drain the potatoes and toss with pepper and parsley.

Put the chicken roasting tray on the hob, splash in some white wine if you have it and scrape up any stuck on chicken bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the stock and simmer for 5 minutes until it has reduced a bit to a light gravy (you will have plenty but the extra will be used in the pie).

Serve a little breast and leg meat to each person along with potatoes and corn (you should have some left over which can be used in the pie, to follow) and a spoonful of stuffing. Drizzle a little gravy over.

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