Braised Whole Chicken with Bread Stuffing & Bacon

I was looking for something different to make for my Thanksgiving 2006 dinner, and of course I had to consult my “All About Braising” cookbook. I love to braise and that cookbook is wonderful. So I came up with this recipe, which seemed perfect for Thanksgiving. It turned out quite good, with the big exception that my brain cells were obviously not functioning as I cooked the chicken upside down!!!! Not only that, but I didn’t realize it until I was trying to carve the chicken and couldn’t figure out why I was having such difficulty. Yes, I’m an idiot. The big problem with cooking it that way is that the bacon drippings only affected the skin on the back (which was delicious). Oh well, next time.
As the bread stuffing and the chicken cook separately you can also make without the other. The stuffing is very good in itself. Note that if you want to stuff the chicken, you must prepare the stuffing first.

Braised Whole Chicken with Bacon

  • 1 6-7 lb roasting chicken, neck, heart and gizzard reserved.
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp. EVOO
  • 1 large carrot, coarsely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tsp. fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 tsp. fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 strips of lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 5 strips bacon
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

Heat oven to 325 degrees
Rinse the chicken inside and out under cool running water. Dry inside and out. Pull any lumps of fat from the cavity and discard. Chop off the last two chunks of the chicken wings and reserve. Season chicken inside and out with salt and pepper. If using stuffing, fill the cavity with it. Truss the chicken.
Heat the butter over medium-high heat in a large Dutch oven or similar lidded pot until the butter stops foaming. Add the carrots, celery and onions and stir. Add the gizzard, heart and neck as well as the chicken wing tips. Stir and sautee until the vegetables start to brown, about 10 minutes. Add the rosemary, thyme, bay leaves and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour in wine and bring to a rapid simmer.
Put the chicken on top of the vegetables. Cover the chicken breast with 4 strips of bacon. Cut the remaining strip in half, and put each half over each drumstick. Add the chicken stock to the pot and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and cover the dish with parchment paper. Cover tightly with the lid and place in the oven. Braise, basting every 30 minutes. Cook until the chicken breast registers a temperature of 170 degrees, about 2 hours.

Stuffing

  • 1/3 cup dried currants
  • 1/3 cup pinenuts
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 4 small celery stalks with leaves, finely chopped
  • 4 thin slices (2/3 cup) ham, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
  • 8 oz slightly stale rustic bread with crust, torn into 3/4″ pieces
  • coarse salt & pepper
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock

Soak the currants in warm water for 20 minutes. Drain.

Lightly toast the pinenuts

In a medium skillet, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the onion and celery and sautee until they are soft and translucent, about 7 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Add the currants, pine nuts, ham, parsley and bread. Mix well, season with salt and pepper and mix again.

Use part of the stuffing to stuff a chicken. Place the rest in a baking dish, pour the chicken stock over it, and cook for about 25 minutes, until it heats through.

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