Rolled chicken with potatoes
Entertaining can be so much more enjoyable if all the work is done in the preparation stage, rather than when your guests are present and having fun and you are stuck in the kitchen. Or, worse, when they are all crowded around you, giving you a nasty case of performance anxiety. This chicken dish certainly fits the category of “winner, winner, chicken dinner”. It’s a recipe I often pull out over the festive season and summer months, as it is as delicious hot as it is at room temperature or cold. In professional parlance, it is known as a chicken galantine – a whole, boned chicken, stuffed and rolled and in this case roasted, although poaching is often a method used to cook galantines.
All the work is in the preparation, especially if you are happy to bone your own chicken. But once the bird is boned, stuffed and rolled, you can wrap it tightly in aluminium foil and refrigerate it until you are ready to roast it. It will last like this for a day or two. In fact, this can actually help the roast stay in a nice, uniform roll. Once roasted, it also makes it much easier to “portion” the chicken. Remember the days of someone standing at the head of the dinner table carving the roast, asking what cut each person would like? By serving a galantine, the breast meat is up one end and the leg meat down the other, so it is quite easy to give everyone a bit of both.
I love it with roast potatoes, the pan juices and green beans. But if the weather has turned hot and it is 40ºC outside, this chicken is equally lovely served chilled or at room temperature with a crisp green salad and a good fruit chutney.
Time: 1 hour preparation and 1 hour cooking
- 12 prunes
- 125ml armagnac or cognac
- 210g fresh breadcrumbs, best made from ciabatta or a blonde sourdough
- 2 tbsp chopped sage
- 2 apples, peeled and grated
- 1 lemon, finely grated zest and juice
- 1 egg
- 125ml milk
- 1 size 20-22 chicken
- salt flakes and black pepper
- 125g butter
- 6 large potatoes, peeled and chopped into mouthful-sized pieces
- Start the stuffing the day before by soaking the prunes in the armagnac and leaving them in a cool place for 24 hours. Combine the breadcrumbs, soaked prunes, sage and apple with the lemon juice and zest. Mix together.
- Add the egg and some of the milk. Be judicious with the milk, you want the stuffing moist but not wet. The type of bread you have used for the crumbs will determine how much milk the stuffing will need.
- Next, bone your chicken. The best way to start is to turn the bird on its breast and cut straight down the backbone. Work your knife under the flesh until you expose the ball and socket joints at both wings and legs. Carefully cut between the ball and socket joints and then carefully cut the flesh away from the ribs and breast bone. You should now have a flat rectangular shape with the legs and wing bones still in place after removing the frame. Cut the flesh away from the remaining bones, taking care not to mutilate the skin, then set aside. Or ask your friendly poulterer to do it for you.
- Preheat the oven to 220°C.
- Season the inside of the chicken flesh with salt and pepper. Form the stuffing into a sausage shape and place it down the length of the bird. Roll up the flesh into a cylinder shape, tucking in the skin and fat at the ends. Tie securely with kitchen string at six to eight points along the length of the bird.
- Season the outside of the bird with salt and pepper and place slices of butter down the length of the bird. Place in a roasting tin, arrange the potatoes around the bird and roast for 15 minutes.
- Turn the oven to 180ºC, toss the potatoes around a bit and roast for another 45 minutes. Test the bird by piercing the flesh and seeing if the blood runs clear. If not, cook a little longer. Remove the chicken from the oven, cover loosely with foil and rest until ready to serve. Remove the string and slice. Serve with the roast potatoes, pan juices and green beans. Alternatively, the chicken also can be cooled and refrigerated and later served cold with salad.
This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on Jan 15, 2022 as "Slow your roll".
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