While only the most intense heat and extreme humidity will keep us from roasting a chicken, I have to admit that now that the temperatures are getting cooler again and it’s becoming seasonally appropriate to roast a bird for Sunday supper and it’s actually quite nice and very comforting to do so. This blog has captured the many iterations we’ve done over the years, from Ina Garten’s engagement chicken to a Spanish-style lemon and saffron version to a Roman-style chicken replete with olive oil and fresh herbs, but this one pictured above might be my favorite one we’ve tried. It comes from the cookbook Puglia–one of the cookbooks I called out in last week’s gift guide–and it might be the perfect chicken to have on a chilly Sunday night between now and the start of winter because to me it combines the best of fall’s flavors with a little more substance than a typical roasted chicken. In fact, were it possible to somehow get a turkey to taste like this chicken I would be far less inclined to agree with Jake Peralta from Brooklyn Nine-Nine that turkey tastes like napkins.
But back to this chicken: holy crap is it amazing. The key is actually the stuffing, which comprised of a little bit of bread and a whole bunch of chicken livers (and any giblets that come with the bird) that are placed into the cavity, and the final result that emerges is so delicious and savory and creamy that you’d be hard-pressed not to eat the entire lot of it before it even gets to the table. The sage and rosemary are the perfect herbs to go with all of this, because they are both earthy and strong and can hold up to the intensity of the chicken and the livers, even when sprinkled on raw on the finished chicken, and the rest of the ingredient is so simple: some bread, some Parmigiano-Reggiano, some egg, and some dry-cured ham.
Damnit, I wish I were eating that chicken right now. Well, if I can’t (because it’s a weekday and I’m at work), well, you should make it for yourself this weekend. You’re not going to be disappointed, and it’s the perfect way to usher in colder evenings best spent by the fireplace if you’ve got one.
Puglian stuffed chicken
Adapted from Puglia
- 1 3 lb chicken with giblets, plus 2 extra chicken livers or 4 extra livers if no giblets available, livers and giblets chopped
- 3 1/2 ounces dry-cured ham (don’t get expensive ham for this–the sliced stuff near the deli is perfect), diced
- About a quarter of a baguette, sliced and soaked in water
- 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 2 whole sprigs rosemary, plus an extra sprig for garnish (leaves removed on that one)
- 4 sage leaves, plus 2-3 extra for garnish
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Season the chicken cavity well with salt and pepper. Combine the chopped giblets/livers into a bowl with the ham, the egg, the bread (well-squeezed out) and the cheese and season well with salt and pepper and then mix.
Place the chicken into a roasting pan, and then add the stuffing to the cavity–secure it closed via toothpicks or by closing with some twine. Place the two sprigs of rosemary and the sage leaves underneath the wings (one and two, respectively, under each), brush it with the olive oil and butter, and season lightly before placing in the oven. Roast for about an hour and a half or until the juices run clear at the thigh and the skin is golden brown, and baste with the juices a couple of times if desired during cooking.
Let the chicken rest for at least 15 minutes before serving, and sprinkle the chicken with the extra sage leaves and the rosemary leaves, and then carve and serve immediately with the stuffing spooned onto the side.