Thursday, 17 May 2012

Simple Ricotta Stuffed Roast Chicken. Simply Delicious.

So this post goes out to Nicole, Lenya (so you don’t have food envy and more), Tom O’C, Tommy G, Rosie, Will and Luke (so you can make your girl happy). Every once in a while I’ll bring left overs from this Bill Granger Roast Chicken that I make into work, and guaranteed I’ll get at least one compliment on it, which is lovely. So thought I’d share the recipe as it’s super easy (Rosie, as easy as the stewed apple). So easy, that even with long working hours, I sometimes make it during the week.

Ingredients, serves 4
1 x 1.6kg organic or free range chicken (this feeds about 4, so go bigger for more people, or smaller for less)
375g fresh ricotta, although if it’s a little less, don’t worry as I always seem to have leftovers. 
2 tablespoons of chopped chives
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chervil or tarragon. Definitely has to be fresh.
1 lemon
Freshly ground pepper
Olive oil
A heap of potatoes (who can resist adding potatoes to a roast?!?)

Start by spatchcocking the chicken. Don’t be fooled, this isn’t hard. It’s just a fancy way to say flattening it. Turn the chicken breast side down on a board or plate. Get out your chicken scissors, or the sharpest knife in the kitchen and cut along one side of the backbone. Then cut the other side. Essentially, what you’re doing is cutting out the backbone.

Then turn it over and kind of press on it until it flattens a bit. You might break the breast bone, but that’s normal and fine. See, easy.

Next, chop up the 2 tablespoons of chervil or tarragon and 2 tablespoons of chives, and grate the rind off the lemon. In a bowl, mix around 375g of ricotta with the chopped chervil or tarragon, chopped chives, lemon rind and salt and pepper (as much or as little as you want of the salt and pepper).

Now you need to stuff the ricotta under the skin, so its time to get messy. I just make a little snip in the skin of each breast, and one near each leg. Run your fingers between the skin and the meat making more room for the stuffing. Try not to tear the skin, but don't stress too much if you do. Now, literally just stuff as much of the ricotta mix under the skin as you can. I schmoosh it round a little bit and pat the ricotta down to spread the mix out so that I fit a little more in.

Put the chicken in a roasting tray, and sprinkle on a little salt, freshly ground pepper and a good splash of oil (don't scrimp on the oil as that's what helps make the skin nice and crunchy). Then stick it in the oven for around 50mins, a little more if it’s a bigger chicken, or a little less if it’s smaller. At around the 10min mark, I drop in a heap of halved or quartered potatoes, sprinkling them with a little salt and maybe some tarragon, and a splash of oil. It's not a must, but an easy win. 

To see if the chickens ready, poke it with a skewer or knife in the thickest part of the thigh. If the juices run clear, it’s ready. If they’re a little pink, it needs a bit longer. But it’s not an exact science, so don’t worry if it ends up being a little more undercooked than you thought. There have been plenty of times that I’ve started to chop up the chicken and it’s a little pink. Just pop it back in the over for another 10 – 15mins. 

Once it's ready, leave it to rest for 5mins, chop it up and enjoy. Make sure everyone gets a little of that lovely, crispy skin. 

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