This chicken and it’s stuffing has turned out to be one of my all time favourite poultry/stuffing combos. When I tested it last week and then served it at a dinner a few days later, I couldn’t get enough of it, nor on the day of the shoot for the above pic.. The flavours all work together so well and it’s so Christmassy in aroma and flavour. Pomegranates are one of my most adored food items to shoot and recently I read about how well they pair with chicken so I thought I’d mess around in the kitchen and try out some recipe tests using both.
I cooked this dish using 2 x 1.5kg chickens*, this will serve 4 adults and 4 kids approx. if you want to just cook one bird that is fine, the stuffing recipe below will fill both these chickens with a small amount left over ~ which I always love as I adore the stuffing and like to bake extra/any leftovers in a piece of foil alongside the bird/s. I haven’t tested this recipe with turkey but I can’t imagine it wouldn’t work just as well as with chicken. If you do try it with turkey, please let me know how you go!
For the stuffing:
- 135 g day old white sourdough bread
- 1 small brown onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 100 g hazelnuts
- 100 g macadamia nuts
- 150 g dried apricots
- 300 g fresh red/black cherries, pitted
- 3 small rosemary stalks, very finely chopped
- Large handful fresh parsley, very finely chopped
- 8 large sage leaves, very finely chopped
- Leaves from 4 x sprigs fresh thyme
- Zest 1 small orange
- 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
You will also need:
- 2 x 1.5kg free-range (organic if poss.) chickens*
- Canola oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 50 g unsalted butter, melted
- Extra pomegranate molasses to drizzle
- 2 fresh pomegranates, halved and torn into quarters
- Preheat oven to 180˚C/350˚F.
- Tear sourdough into chunks and whizz for a few minutes in a food processor until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Empty into a large mixing bowl along with the chopped onion. Return the processor bowl to the machine. Add the nuts and whizz until almost finely chopped ~ not too fine, but not too large. Add to the breadcrumbs.
- Process the apricots until they too are finely chopped and add to the mixture, then add the cherries to the processor and whizz until roughly chopped ~ add to the stuffing mix along with the herbs, orange zest and pomegranate molasses. Season well with salt and lots of freshly ground back pepper and combine everything together thoroughly.
- Take balls of the stuffing and fill the cavity of the chickens, don’t pack it in too tight, there should always be a little room around the stuffing.If there is any left-over, simply place in some aluminium foil and roast in the oven 30 minutes before the chicken is due to be cooked through.
- Place the birds into a roasting pan/s, pour canola oil over the birds and massage it well into the skin then season with salt. Roast chicken in preheated oven for 1.5 hours ~ or until cooked through ~ this timing will depend on the eventual size of poultry cooked, you can use a meat thermometer if you like. See here for more info.
- After and hour in the oven brush the skin of the chickens all over and liberally with the melted butter and return to the oven.
- When cooked, remove the chickens and serve with extra pomegranate molasses generously drizzled over and pomegranate seeds and squeezed juice.