Christmas Roast Chicken with Sage, Pancetta and Pine Nut Stuffing

If you aren’t keen on turkey for Christmas, why not try chicken instead?

RoastChicken_1

RoastChicken_1a

Turkeys here in Australia are very expensive compared to the rest of the world. I nearly had an episode when I saw the price of them in the freezer section at the supermarket – $36 for a 3.5kg bird! Chicken is significantly cheaper and I wonder how many families would actually realise the difference by the time they smother the carved meat in gravy? 🙂

For me the best thing about any roast chicken is the stuffing that goes with it. This year I decided to use some pancetta plus another bunch of sage from the plant in my garden. Sage and onion in a stuffing just can’t be beaten.

Ingredients – serves 6-8:

  • 2.2kg/5 lb chicken
  • olive oil, to drizzle over the skin

Stuffing:

  • 100g/3.5 oz pancetta, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
  • 50g/2 oz pine nuts
  • 1 cup dried packaged breadcrumbs
  • 12 fresh sage leaves
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • squeeze of lemon juice (from a bottle is fine)
  • 1 large knob (approx 25g/1 oz) butter

Method:

  • Heat the oven to 160C/140C fan forced/320F.
  • Brown the pancetta pieces in a frying pan over medium heat then remove to a plate.
  • Blitz the onion, pine nuts, breadcrumbs and 8 sage leaves together in a food processor until finely chopped, then put into a medium bowl.
  • Add the pancetta, garlic and lemon juice to the bowl and mix to combine all the ingredients.
  • Rinse the chicken under cold water, pat dry with a paper towel, then place in a large roasting pan ensuring that the breast is facing upwards.
  • Using your fingers, carefully separate the skin from the chicken’s breast at the neck end, without tearing the skin.
  • Push 2 sage leaves up each side of the breast, trying to leave them unfolded so they look nice under the skin.
  • Next, push about a third of the stuffing under the skin. Try not to disturb the whole sage leaves.
  • Place the knob of butter with the stuffing under the skin and press gently to seal the skin down.
  • Put the rest of the stuffing in the body cavity.
  • Drizzle olive oil liberally all over the chicken.
  • Cover the pan in foil and cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
  • Then cook without the foil for 1 hour, basting with the pan juices halfway through and at the end of that time. You may need to cover just the breast area with a piece of foil to prevent over-browning.
  • Turn up the oven to 220C/200C fan forced/430F, and cook for another 20-30 minutes. Test that the juices run clear when the thickest part of the leg is pierced with a skewer.
  • Remove the chicken from the roasting pan, put on a plate and cover loosely with foil. Leave to rest for 10 minutes before carving.
  • Enjoy!

RoastChicken_2

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3 Responses to Christmas Roast Chicken with Sage, Pancetta and Pine Nut Stuffing

  1. Pingback: My tips on roasting a perfectly juicy chicken | Recipe Adaptors

  2. Pingback: Get ready for Christmas: Main Courses | Recipe Adaptors

  3. Pingback: Recipe Round-up for Christmas | Recipe Adaptors

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