Darina Allen runs a world-renowned cookery school at Ballymaloe, Ireland, and is that country's most famous cook and food author. This stuffing is equally good with roast turkey - just multiply the quantity by 3 or 4. It is also good a with a boned loin of lamb.
|1 ½ kgs||Chicken, free-range (Main)|
|3 sprigs||Flat leaf (Italian) parsley, for garnish|
|1 serving||Giblets, from the chicken - the neck, heart, gizzard. The liver will make the stock bitter so use for a pate.|
|1 sprig||Fresh thyme|
|75 g||Onions, chopped|
|75 g||White breadcrumbs, fresh|
|2 Tbsp||Fresh herbs, e.g.: parsley, thyme, chives, marjoram, finely chopped|
- Preheat the oven to 180C.
- Weigh the chicken and calculate 20 minutes per 500g and 20 minutes over for the cooking time.
- Remove the wishbone from the neck end of the chicken - this isn't essential but it does make carving much easier later on. Tuck the wing tips underneath the chicken to make a neat shape.
- To make the stock (which you will use for the gravy) put the wishbone, giblets (apart from the liver), carrot, onions, celery and herbs into a saucepan. Cover with cold water, bring to the boil, skim and simmer gently while you prepare and roast the chicken.
- Next make the stuffing. Sweat the onions gently in the butter until soft - about 10 minutes. Then stir in the breadcrumbs, herbs, and a little salt and pepper to taste. Add optional roux. Leave it to get quite cold. If necessary, wash and dry the cavity of the bird, then season and half-fill it with cold stuffing. Season the breast and legs, smear with a little soft butter and put in the oven.
- Baste the bird a couple of times during the cooking with the buttery juices. To test if it's done, prick the thickest part at the base of the thigh and examine the juices: there should be no trace of pink. Remove the chicken to a carving dish and keep it warm.
- To make the gravy, spoon off the surplus fat from the roasting tin. Deglaze the pan juices with the giblet stock (you will need about 600ml, depending on the size of the chicken).
- Using a whisk, stir and scrape the pan to dissolve the caramelised meat juices. Boil it up, season and, if you like, thicken with a little roux. Taste and correct the seasoning and serve in a warm gravy boat.
- Serve the chicken on a nice carving dish surrounded by crispy roast potatoes and some sprigs of flat parsley; then arm yourself with a sharp knife and bring it to the table. Carve and then serve with gravy, roast vegetables and whatever else you fancy.