I remember hours of my childhood spent watching cooking shows like The Frugal Gourmet (Jeff Smith), Justin Wilson and others on PBS, but I remember being completely in awe of Julia Child. There was something about her voice, the way she moved through the kitchen and her clear love of food that made me want to be like her.
In one of her recipes, Julia touts:
“You can always judge the quality of a cook or a restaurant by roast chicken. While it does not require years of training to produce a juicy, brown, buttery, crisp-skinned, heavenly bird, it does entail such a greed for perfection that one is under compulsion to hover over the bird, listen to it, above all see that it is continually basted, and that it is done just to the proper turn.”
This is so true! Giving the bird your full attention will make the difference in a deliciously crispy, beautiful bird and one that is overcooked and over crisp.
Aside from the bird, mushrooms are the heart of this recipe. The original called for a mixture of dried and fresh mushrooms, but as I’ve said in the past, I’m big on adjusting your recipe based on what you have available to you. Dried mushrooms aren’t readily available to me, and while I could have spent the time to find them at another store father across town, why bother when I can simply adjust?
- Wild Mushroom and Herb Stuffed Chicken
- 4 oz Baby Bella Mushrooms
- 4 oz Shitake Mushrooms
- 8 oz White Mushrooms
- 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
- 1 tablespoon Butter
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 3 cloves Garlic, crushed
- 1/4 cup chopped Herbs (a mixture of Parsley, Sage and Chives)
- 1 Chicken (5-6 lbs)
- Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees.
- Rough chop your mushrooms into 1/4 - 1/2 inch pieces. Heat the oil and butter in a pan, add the mushrooms and saute until the mushrooms have released their juices. In a bowl, mix the sauteed mushrooms, salt, pepper, garlic and herbs together and set it aside to cool.
- While your stuffing cools, sit your chicken on it's bottom with the neck end up, and use your fingers to gently separate the skin from the breast and thighs of the chicken. You want to be careful not to tear the skin, as it is what holds the stuffing in place.
- Once the stuffing is cool enough to handle, gentle spoon the stuffing into the space between the skin and breasts, using your hands to work the stuff down into the thigh areas and continue stuffing until you have a nice even layer also covering the breast area.
- At this point, you can truss or not truss your chicken. You can find instructions for trussing a chicken here. While trussing certainly isn't mandatory, it does help hold your stuffing in place and keep everything nice and presentable.
- Your chicken goes into a roasting pan, breast side up, and in the center of the oven for approximately 20 minutes per pound. You will want to listen to your chicken. About 30 minutes in, you'll start to hear some sizzling. That means it's time to pull out the bird and give it a good baste. You'll continue to baste approximately every 30 minutes through the cooking process. A meat thermometer is the best way to know your bird is done. An internal temperature of 165 is considered safe for poultry, but I tend to go to about 170.
- When your bird comes out, let it rest for a minute before removing it from the pan. The drippings from the pan make an excellent gravy, though the bird is so moist and delicious that you certainly don't need it!
How pretty is this???
It was delicious too. I’m pretty sure roasted chickens will be on our menu more often from this point out. I’m already plotting what else I can stuff between my chickens and their skin. The flavors, the skin, it’s all just perfect!