Christmas Roast Chicken with Sage, Pancetta and Pine Nut Stuffing

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



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


  • 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


  • 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!


This entry was posted in Mains and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s