Monday, September 13, 2010

Recipe of the week: Spinach and Ricotta-Stuffed Baked Chicken With Lemony White Wine Sauce

Rub:
• Salt
• Olive oil
• 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh tarragon (or 1/4 teaspoon dried)
• 1/4 teaspoon paprika

Stuffing:
• 1 cup cooked, finely chopped, and drained fresh spinach
• 1/2 cup ricotta
• 1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese (you can substitute for your favorite cheese such as smoked provolone, gorgonzola, fontina, feta, or goat cheese)
• 1 large clove of garlic minced
• 4 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
• 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel
• Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 1 large egg

Sauce:
• 1/2 cup dry white wine
• 1/2 cup homemade chicken stock
• 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
• 2 tbsp of lemon juice
• 2 tablespoons of heavy cream
• Optional: Pinch of sugar (to cut the tartness of the lemon)
• Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
• Chopped chives

Chicken:
• 1 whole chicken
• Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Directions

Make the Stuffing: In a bowl, combine the spinach, ricotta, parmesan cheese, lemon peel, garlic and cooked bacon and mix well. Season with salt and pepper. Add the egg, mix well, and set aside.

Make the Sauce: Combine the wine and stock in a non-reactive saucepan. Bring to a boil and reduce to a sauce-like consistency. Whisk in the  dijon mustard, lemon juice, heavy cream and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add of pinch of sugar if needed. Finely chop fresh chives and add to the sauce. Set aside.

Make the Chicken: Rinse the chicken well inside and out with water and pat dry with paper towels. To spatchcock the chicken: Place the bird, breast side down on a cutting board. Using poultry shears or a sharp knife, score along both sides of the backbone, cutting through the skin and bone. Remove the backbone. Turn the bird over and press firmly on the breast bone to break it, and flatten the breast. Tuck the wing tips under the breast. Set the chicken aside.

Season the inside of the chicken with salt.

Using your fingers, carefully loosen the skin over the breast of the chicken and down to the thigh and drumstick area starting at neck edge. Spread the ricotta mixture evenly under the skin to coat the breast, thigh and drumstick.

Brush chicken lightly with oil; sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon tarragon, paprika, and a generous amount of salt.



Use the discarded chicken pieces (including heart, liver, and gizzard) to make your own chicken stock to be used later in your sauce and (optional) Israeli Pearl Couscous.


Oven Instructuctions:

Preheat oven to 500°F. Place chicken, skin side up, on a rack in a roasting pan. Place in oven and immediately turn the heat down to 350°F. Roast for an hour to an hour and a half, until the juices run clear from the thigh when pierced with a fork. (Breast meat should have an internal temperature of 165°F, thigh meat should have an internal temperature of 175°F.)

Transfer chicken to a cutting board; let stand 10 minutes. Cut into quarters, cutting lengthwise and crosswise.

Serves 4 to 6.
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