Grandma’s Special Stuffed Chicken

 Preparation time: overnight

Cooking time: 1 to 2 hours

Serves: 4-6

Ingredients

  • 5-1.8kg chicken, giblets removed, trussed
  • 25g butter
  • ½ unwaxed lemon, juice only
  • 100ml white wine or vermouth
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the stuffing:

  • 15g butter
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • ½ unwaxed lemon, finely grated zest only
  • 5 leaves fresh sage, finely chopped (or ½ tbsp dried sage)
  • 100g fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg, beaten

For the alternative sausagemeat stuffing:

  • 15g butter,
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 200g sausagemeat
  • 1 eating apple, grated
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme, finely chopped

For the gravy:

  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 100ml dry white wine
  • 300ml chicken stock

Method

  1. The day before you roast your chicken, season it inside and out with salt. Loosely wrap it in kitchen paper, then put it in a tub or wrap it securely in foil. Chill it in the fridge. An hour before you want to roast it, remove it from the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature.
  2. Preheat the oven to 220C.
  3. For the stuffing, melt the butter in a frying pan over low heat, add the onion and cook until soft and translucent. Put the onion in a bowl and allow to cool, then mix in the lemon zest, sage, and breadcrumbs. Season well with salt and pepper and add the egg, mixing thoroughly. (If making the sausagemeat stuffing, do exactly the same, mixing the fried onion with the sausagemeat, apple, and herbs.)
  4. Fill the cavity of the chicken with the stuffing, making sure you leave a little air between the stuffing and the top of the bird to allow the air to circulate. If you have any stuffing leftover, you can stuff it into the neck end.
  5. Rub the butter over the chicken, then squeeze the lemon juice over it and put it in a roasting tin. Mix the wine with 100ml water and pour over the chicken.
  6. Roast for 15 minutes, then turn the heat down to 180C and roast for a further 60–80 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the juices run clear when it is pierced through the thickest part with a skewer (the cooking time will depend on the size of the chicken).
  7. Remove the bird from the tin, cover with foil and set aside to rest. Pour off the tin juices and strain off any fat, then set aside. To make the gravy, sprinkle the flour over the tin. Stir over low heat to make a roux with the scrapings in the bottom of the tin, then pour in the wine. Let this bubble up, then gradually add the pan juices and stock. You can transfer the gravy to a saucepan if you like – the roasting tin should look clean. Simmer until you have a thin, well-flavoured gravy.

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