Roast chicken with fig & bacon stuffing & sherry gravy

by Dixie Elliott | Cuisine issue #155
Serves: 6Hosting a Christmas dinner doesn't have to be stressful and expensive - with a bit of planning, you can put together a delicious festive feast that is also kind to the budget

60g butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 rashers bacon (175g), rind removed, finely chopped
125g dried figs, finely chopped
1 teaspoon chopped sage leaves
2 cups fresh breadcrumbs, madeby whizzing day-old bread in a food processor
1 egg, lightly beaten
2.2kg free-range whole chicken
2 tablespoons flour
1⁄2 cup sherry
1@1⁄2 cups chicken stock

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Heat 40g of the butter and 1 tablespoon of the oil in a frying pan over medium heat. When the butter has melted and is sizzling, add the onion, garlic and bacon. Fry, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes. Add the figs and cook for 2 minutes or until softened.

Transfer the fig mix to a bowl and set aside to cool completely. Add the sage, breadcrumbs and egg and stir until combined.

Rinse the cavity of the chicken and pat dry with kitchen paper. Fill the cavity with the stuffing mixture then put the chicken in a roasting dish. Secure the legs closed with kitchen twine and tuck the wings under the body. Drizzle with the remaining oil and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roast, breast side up, for 11⁄2 hours or until golden and the juices run clear when the thickest part of the chicken thigh is pierced with a skewer.

Transfer the chicken to a board and cover with foil to keep warm.

Meanwhile, drain the juices from the roasting pan, retaining 1 tablespoon. Place the roasting pan over medium heat then add the remaining 20g butter and cook until melted. Sprinkle the flour over the butter mixture and whisk until well combined. Cook, whisking constantly, for 2 minutes or until the flour mixture is golden and bubbling. Continue to whisk while slowly pouring in the sherry and stock. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 2 minutes or until thickened.

Strain the gravy through a fine sieve then serve with the roast chicken.

Wine - A slim, light South Island chardonnay.


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