Roast Chicken with Mixed Mushroom Stuffing

A weekend without any plans… what heaven.

After an extremely busy week at work for both of us and knowing how hectic the next few weekends would be, Scotty and I decided we would stay at home. Best decision ever as I began the week feeling somewhat rejuvenated and ready to tackle the week ahead.

It has been freezing in Sydney recently and so what better to cook on a Sunday night then a roast chook! I was recently given a few cooking magazines to peruse and found a wonderful rustic Jamie Oliver recipie for a roast chicken with a mushroom stuffing. As it didn’t require lots of ingredients and looked easy to prepare, it seemed perfect for our relaxing weekend at home.

It was a pleasure to prepare and an even greater pleasure to eat. As the mushroom stuffing gets pushed between the flesh and the skin, the skin really darkens and crisps up when cooked. The flesh was also extremely moist and flavoursome. But the real hero of the dish were the little stuffing balls – we just couldn’t get enough of them and they were so good, they almost overshadowed the roast chook itself!

At our next dinner party we will definitely be serving these little balls of stuffing goodness as a canape.

Roast Chicken with Mixed Mushroom Stuffing

large knob unsalted butter
olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
500g mixed exotic mushrooms, chopped (I used Shitake, Portobello and button mushrooms)
Bunch of thyme
1/2 lemon
handful pine nuts
2 handfuls fresh white breadcrumbs
1 egg, lightly beaten
1.5kg free-range whole chicken

Preheat oven to 240 degrees celcius. Melt butter with a splash of olive oil in a large frypan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring, for about 10 minutes or until soft, but not coloured. Add mushrooms with the leaves from a few thyme sprigs, increase the heat to high and fry, stirring, for a further 5-10 minutes or until the mushrooms go slightly crispy.

Remove the pan from the heat, grate in the lemon zest and season well. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and leave to cool. Once the mixture has cooled, use clean hands to mix in the pine nuts and breadcrumbs, followed by the egg.

Roll three-quarters of the mushroom stuffing into balls and set aside. Carefully push your fingers between the meat and skin on top of the chicken to create a pocket, then gently push remaining stuffing into this pocket.

Place the zested lemon half in the chicken cavity with the remaining thyme sprigs. Place chicken in a roasting pan, drizzle with olive oil and season with sea salt and pepper. Place in the oven and reduce the heat to 200 degrees. Cook for 40 minutes, then add mushroom stuffing balls to the pan. Return to the oven and cook for a further 35 minutes until the chicken is golden.

Allow the roast chicken to rest, loosely covered with foil for 10 – 15 minutes, then serve with smashed potatoes and seasonal green vegetables.

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