Sometimes things simply don’t make sense. Lately, there has been a lot of that around here. I have found myself reciting Yeats;
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
I do not find Yeats particularly comforting. It may have something to do with his post-World-War-1 kind of depressing narrative, but I have been searching for something that is.
In the places where I have found consolation and soothing, I have realized that they all share one thing in common. We find comfort in the things or in the people that resonate with the most truth.
Food is truth. It cannot be expected to be more than it is. And if I think of comfort in terms of food, I think of roast chicken. A simple roast chicken is my food truth. It’s more about that glorious smell which fills the kitchen while it roasts, I think. It’s like a floating promise in the air of some serious tummy loving on its way. Let’s face it, if you throw some roast potatoes in there, you are well on your way to feasting, but with even just a reliable tossed green salad, it’s going to be heartening soul food.
And good food, like poetry and love and comfort, can be healing to the heart.
This recipe has a stuffing which I place between the skin and the meat of the breast. This is the best way to protect the breast meat from drying out, and also allows the flavor of the stuffing to steep into the rest of the chicken.
Often, there is not enough time to go around stuffing chickens and you just need to bomb it in the oven super quick, and if that is the case just remember this: as with anything, the more flavor you add, the more delicious it will be, so if you are skipping the stuffing, season the chicken really well. Maybe throw some herbs into your roasting pan, or place the chicken on a sliced onion or even baste it during cooking with some herb infused melted butter. We used to teach our chefs that you cook chicken for about 15 minutes for every 450 g of its weight. But, if you insert a knife into a joint, the juice should run clear and then you will know it is cooked. Stuffing the chicken between the skin and the breast meat, will not alter the cooking time greatly, if at all.
What you need
50 g butter
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 pkt. rindless bacon, chopped
200 g chicken sausage, removed from the casings
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
Juice and zest of one lemon
Large handful mixed fresh herbs, chopped (e.g. thyme, Italian parsley, rosemary)
1 whole chicken
- To prepare the stuffing, fry the onion in the butter until soft and fragrant.
- Add the garlic and the bacon and toss until the bacon is cooked.
- Place in a bowl and mix well with the sausage meat, mustard, lemon juice and rind as well as the egg.
- Finally toss in the herbs and season well.
- Remove all excess fat from the chicken.
- Slowly using the tips of your fingers and being careful not to tear it, lift the skin from the meat of the breast.
- Push the stuffing under the skin and replace the skin down.
- Place the chicken into your roasting tray.
- Drizzle with olive oil and season well.
- Roast at 180 degrees Celsius to done.
Perfectly perfect for Sunday lunch!
Psalm 73 vs 26