September 27th, 2011
Using my foraged chestnuts,
I made a chestnut stuffing for roast chicken. This is much the same as I would do for a regular stuffing, but with the addition of chopped chestnuts.
Chestnut Stuffing recipe:
1/2 lb chestnuts (roasted, peeled and chopped)
1 medium onion (cut into 4)
6 pieces of garlic (peeled)
1 knob of butter
1/2 lb of good quality sausage meat
2 slices of stale sourdough bread (torn up)
coarse sea salt, black peppercorns, rosemary, sage and thyme (ground with a mortar and pestle)
Grind a few sprigs of rosemary, sage and thyme (leaves only), in a mortar and pestle with a pinch of coarse sea salt and a few black peppercorns. The coarse sea salt is important, as it helps the grinding process.
Put all the ingredients into a food processor and blitz until you have a smoothish paste, as per my photo (top of the post). I bought some Cumberland style sausages at the farmers market for the sausage meat and removed the skins. I would have bought them from my favourite butcher normally, but it was Sunday. The sausages from Downland happy pigs were very good. The stuffing was quite moist, but if you make it and it seems a bit dry, add more butter or a little water.
Fill the entire cavity of a medium sized, free range, chicken, with the stuffing and tie the legs together to stop it falling out, during cooking.
Rub the chicken all over with butter, sprinkle on a little sea salt and cracked black pepper and wrap it up in streaky bacon (this adds fat and flavour).
Place the chicken into a preheated oven at 240º C for 30 minutes, then baste and turn the temperature down to 180º C. After an hour is up, remove the bacon (chop it up and serve it with your vegetables) and baste the chicken again. Cook for a further hour, basting at 20 minute intervals. To check that your chicken is done, prick the flesh under the legs with a fork. If the juices run clear, it’s done. Don’t eat it until the juices are clear.
Wrap the chicken up in foil and rest it for 30 minutes before carving. This gives you time to make gravy with the meat juices. Serve with roast potatoes, seasonal vegetables and the stuffing. I had some leftover stuffing which I cooked for about 45 minutes (at the same time) in an oven dish, though the stuffing inside the bird had extra flavour from the chicken.