I had never stuffed a chicken before. I have stuffed turkeys for Thanksgiving with my grandfather’s bread stuffing recipe redolent with sage, but it never was part of my repertoire to make a stuffed chicken. I love roast chicken, and have a vertical roaster which makes it faster to roast, but precludes stuffing!
As I browsed this lovely cookbook, which is as much a reflection on living in New York City as a cookbook, I came across this recipe for Field Garlic Roast Chicken, which the author (Marie Viljoen) said might be one of her favorites. So I thought I’d give it a go!
Field Garlic Roast Chicken
2 Strips of bacon, sliced
1 c. Finely chopped field garlic, white and green parts (or green onions, which is what I used)
1 c. Bread crumbs
Zest of 1/4 lemon
1 T. Fresh lemon juice
1/4 c. Crumbled Feta cheese
Freshly ground black pepper
Chicken & Potato Ingredients:
1 Medium chicken, rinsed and patted dry
5 Medium potatoes, cut into thin rounds
3 Sprigs thyme
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 c. water or white wine or vermouth
Make the stuffing: In a skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon until rendered. Add the field garlic (or green onions) and saute until translucent. Add the bread crumbs, stirring to coat evenly with the bacon fat and garlic. Add the lemon juice and zest. Remove the pan from the heat, and stir in the feta. Add pepper to the stuffing and taste for salt.
Make the chicken and potatoes: Preheat oven to 450 degrees
Gently stuff the chicken. Arrange the sliced potatoes in a roasting pan with the sprigs of thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Set the chicken on top. Squeeze the lemon juice over the chicken, and then season the bird’s skin generously with salt and pepper. Add the water or wine to the pan – this forms the basis of the delicious, sticky pan juices.
Put the pan in the oven and do not look at it for an hour. After an hour, check on the liquid and add more water or wine if the pan is dry. After another 15 to 20 minutes, remove the pan from the oven. Let it rest for 10 minutes before carving the chicken. The skin will be perfectly crisp, the meat moist, the juices caramelized, sticky, and slightly tart. Remove the stuffing from the chicken. Carve the bird and arrange the pieces in the pan on the potatoes, with the stuffing served on the side.