I hardly need an excuse to eat stuffing, but having a ton of saved homemade bread heels is definitely a legitimate one. And roasting a chicken? Come on…
For this elaborate-sounding gastronomic delight, I’ve made Roasted Sage and Lemon Chicken with Homemade Bread and Veggie Stuffing. It sounds complicated, but it’s totally not.
For the stuffing:
If you make bread or buy bread, save the parts that get stale! Keep them in the fridge or freezer (depending on how long it takes you to get enough to make a pan of stuffing), pull them out, and cut them into 1″ cubes. Set that aside.
Chop up whatever veggies you like and have on hand. I used carrots, onion, green bell pepper, amd , button mushrooms for mine. In a very hot skillet with a small amount of oil, sautée the veggies until soft. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Then add the cubed bread to the pan. I think it’s helpful and delicious to add about two tablespoons (or more) of butter to get the bread all toasted. The caramelized flavor really goes a long way. Sautéed over medium-high heat for about five minutes, moving the veggies and bread around occasionally.
When you’re satisfied with the tastiness, add enough chicken or vegetable stock until the entire mixture is moist but not soaking wet. Transfer this to a buttered casserole dish. Dollop the top in a few places with the garlic and sage butter (see below).
Cover with foil and set it aside.
For the garlic and sage butter:
In a food processor or blender, out one stick of organic unsalted butter, 10 fresh sage leaves, three cloves of garlic, and a pinch of sea salt. Blend until it’s pulverized. Set aside.
For the chicken:
Rinse and pat dry a 4 pound organic chicken. Separate the skin from the meat as best as you can (slide your finger between the skin and meat and try to make a pocket). Do this on both the breast and thigh side of the bird. Insert as much garlic and butter as will comfortably fit.
Then rub the chicken skin with a bit of mayonnaise (trust me). Season the outside with the zest of one grated organic lemon, sea salt, garlic powder, paprika, and cracked black pepper. Use all of these spices to taste.
Then stuff the cavity with the lemon you zested, four peeled garlic cloves, one onion, and some fresh sage. Cut up the larger things so they’ll fit. Place the bird on a roasting pan with a lid (or cover it with foil).
Putting it all together:
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Once it’s up to temperature, put in the chicken and stuffing. Place the chicken on the higher rack and the stuffing on the lower one. Cook both covered things for 45 minutes. You won’t need to baste the chicken because of the mayonnaise. It keeps everything very moist and the seasoning exactly where it should be. After the 45 minutes is up, remove the foil and lid from both the chicken and stuffing.
Raise the temperature to 400. Put the items back in the oven and cook for another 15 minutes. Your stuffing is done. Keep the chicken in for additional 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest.
There! You’re done. Cut up the chicken or serve whole…it really doesn’t matter. Whatever you do, though, make sure to drizzle the drippings over the meat. This is critical! There’s so much flavor in that juice.
Serve the chicken and stuffing together. Introduce whatever veggies you like to this party, but the star of the show will definitely be the chicken!