Here we go again… we’re on the pre-Christmas roller coaster, travelling at lightning speed. But there is some consolation for me this year… as with every year… I don’t need to be too creative with my contribution to our family’s lunch menu.
Everywhere you look, we’re being invited to create something special for our Christmas lunch. But in my case, all they (my large Italian family) want me to cook is the same old Apricot stuffed chicken that I’ve been making for the last twenty years. So as far as recipes go… this one’s a keeper.
You will need a de-boned chicken for this recipe. I’ve made several attempts at deboning a chicken myself.. and whilst I succeeded in doing so, it does take a lot of time to do. Hence, I strongly recommend asking your butcher to do it. You may want to stipulate that they do not cut off the drums and wings (as happened to me once..leaving four large holes and a bit less meat in my roast). Also, request that they cut along the back of the chicken. This makes for easier rolling later.
You will need:
1 large chicken, deboned
1/2 brown onion, finely diced
8 turkish apricots, soaked in water for 2+ hours
1 cup stale breadcrumbs
1 small egg
a few sprigs thyme
50g salted butter, melted
salt and pepper
a few toothpicks
Prepare your stuffing by chopping the apricots and combining them with the onion breadcrumbs, egg and thyme. Season with salt and pepper.
Lay your chicken out flat. Remove excess fat and any tendons, paying particular attention to the bottom of the drumstick. You will notice that the meat is in four sections.
Butterfly the sections of meat, so that the meat covers all of the skin.
Season with salt and pepper. Brush generously with butter.
Spread the stuffing along the centre of the chicken, lengthwise.
Fold over the ends of the chicken, then fold along the bottom edge of the meat.
Secure the chicken roll with a few toothpicks. Then wrap the chicken with kitchen twine, winding the twine at 1.5cm intervals. As you are wrapping the twine around the meat, apply extra pressure around the thickest sections of the meat. This allows you to obtain and consistent thickness, and allows for even cooking. Brush the log with butter and place in an ovenproof dish.
Bake at 220’C for 20 minutes, then reduce the heat to 170’C for a further 1 hour.
Allow to rest for 20 minutes prior to serving.