Washington winter locavoreanism: Roast chicken with apple-hazelnut stuffing
A while ago, I mentioned Food and Wine's feature on eating locally, and noted that I had sent a few recipes of my own for their consideration. I've not heard back from them, and with winter drawing to a close, I decided to share one or two that can be enjoyed through much of the year.
Local chickens have a strong flavor during the summer, but are milder in the winter. The rosemary and butter add a rich flavor to the bird, while the tart apples, the uplifting aroma of tarragon, and the earthiness of sage and hazelnuts draw the mind forward toward spring.
1 whole chicken, rinsed and patted dry
2 rosemary sprigs
2 granny smith apples, cored but with skins intact
2 T minced sage
1 T minced tarragon
3/4 C hazelnuts, chopped
1/4 C white wine
1/4 C chicken broth
6 T butter
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Chop the apples into small 1-inch cubes. In a large bowl, mix the apples, sage, tarragon, hazelnuts, white wine, salt, and pepper.
Cut one tablespoon of butter into small pieces and add to the apple mixture.
Slit the loose skin where the legs join the body. See the photos and description in my previous post for tips on handling the chicken. Insert a rosemary sprig on each side, pushing it so it runs under the loose folds of skin to the top of the breast meat.
Place the stuffing inside the chicken, setting aside the leftover stuffing. Place the chicken, back down, in a baking pan.
Rub the chicken's breast with 1 T butter. Take the remaining 4 T of butter and place a 1 T pat between the body and each wing and leg. Truss the bird, so that the legs are pinched together and the wings are drawn close to the body.
Mix 1/4 C chicken broth with the remaining stuffing and place in a baking dish. You will cook the stuffing for 35 minutes at 375 degrees, but the stuffing may be cooked at the same time as the chicken. I've found that I can put the stuffing into the oven at the halfway point for the bird (see below). Until then, keep the stuffing covered and refrigerated.
Cook the chicken for 20 minutes per pound. Halfway through the cooking time, turn the chicken breast down and return to the oven, along with the stuffing.
Remove the chicken from the oven and let sit for 5-10 minutes, until it is cool enough to handle. Remove the stuffing from the chicken and mix with the stuffing in the baking dish. Warm the stuffing in a sauce pan until it is consistently heated.
Remove the rosemary sprigs from the chicken and carve.
In the Puget Sound region, local farms, farmers markets, and greenhouses provide a surprising amount of fresh produce and livestock in the winter. Skagit River Ranch runs out of chickens from January or February until summer, when the next batch are old enough to slaughter.
I make my own stock, but if I don't have any on hand, Sea Breeze Farm on Vashon Island provides a good alternative, and organic non-local stock is available at grocery stores.
Local white wines likely will come from Yakima Valley, the Columbia River, Willamette Valley, or British Columbia, though I did discover a few white wines from within a 100-mile radius. British Columbia produces some excellent white wines and very good ice wines.
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