If you don't love dairy, this chicken dish might not be for you. I, for one, am addicted to all things dairy. I can clean out the company's cheese tray at parties. I drink about a gallon of milk in two days. I eat sour cream from the container with a spoon when I think people aren't watching.
Dairy and I have been "involved" for years.
Also, if you want something healthy, um… As I told a friend: This chicken is a total heart attack.
The dish itself is an improvised version of a French recipe. I've added apple to the stuffing for a juicy sweetness and tarragon because I love the herb on chicken. There's a couple of other improvs to it too.
What makes this chicken the best? The chicken is buttered (I love butter) so that it's skin becomes crisp and brown, but just before it's finished baking, heaving whipping cream is basted over the chicken ever five to 10 minutes as it bakes. The chicken metamorphoses into the moistest and most succulent chicken you've ever had. I swear.
As the chicken cooks, a very robust smell will draw everyone to the kitchen. You can expect an audience if you aren't cooking alone.
But, between the cream cheese stuffing and the heavy cream, you're full in three bites. But the 1 hour and 20 minutes it takes to cook everything is worth it for those three bites.
As for my sides dishes, I decided to do a couple of my favorites. French-style potatoes (a lot like Southern Fried but with butter and salt and whole small potatoes, instead of chunked) and pearl onions in red wine. Honestly, my grandmother loves the onions. You've never been so surprised to taste an onion and find it bursting in your mouth with flavor. When I first cooked the onions, I thought the red wine would be overwhelming, but it's really not. Everything cooks down sublimely. The herbs give the onions a sweetness you won't expect and somehow the red wine cooks down to a sauce that is simply divine.
Here's the recipe:
1 chicken, whole with heart and liver. (I prefer organic ones that say the chicken was happy because the meat tastes better.)
tarragon (I got fresh, but you can use dried)
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup of heavy cream
1 piece of white bread
1/2 of a package of cream cheese
2 green onions
Tarragon and thyme
Heart and liver
Salt and pepper (black and white pepper)
Apple (semi-sweet or tart is best) chopped.
Wash and dry off the chicken with paper towels, pull the skin a bit from the meat and then rub the entire outside of the chicken with butter. For the stuffing: Chop and sauté the heart and liver, put into a mixing bowl. Sauté next onions and apple and add to mixing bowl. Add cream cheese, and crumbled piece of bread, tarragon, thyme, salt and pepper. Mix all together with hands. Put a pad of butter in the chicken cavity, then stuff all the mixture into the bird. Truss and sew up the chicken. Salt and pepper and tarragon the outside. Put in baking dish and put in oven uncovered at 350 to 375. Turn the chicken over after browned on one side. Turn it over again (after about 30 minutes) so that it ends up breast side up. When the chicken is very nearly finished cooking (about 1 hour into cooking) baste the cream over the chicken a little at a time. Do this every 5 to 10 minutes until the chicken is cooked. Once chicken is cooked, place on serving tray. Remove some of the fat of the sauce, render by turning up the heat and adding a little bit of chicken broth at a time. Once it renders a few minutes, turn off the heat, stirring constantly, then add another 1/4th cup of cream to the sauce. Serve as a sauce with the chicken. Chicken should look buttery brown with a creamy brown sauce.
Small round potatoes, finger sized.
Butter and olive oil
Salt and pepper
Peel the potatoes and dry them with a paper towel. (This drying is vital. The potatoes must be dry to brown well.) Put in a dab of olive oil and a pad of butter and allow to melt. Add potatoes and roll them every 2 minutes by sliding the skillet back and forth, or use a spatula to move them. Salt and pepper. Once they are brown, add more butter and a lid and allow to cook. Roll the potatoes every few minutes until soft inside but with a nice skin on the outside.
Bag of pearl onions
Bay leaf, dried
Make a sachet out of the herbs and place aside. Peel onions and brown them like the potatoes in the above recipe. Add red wine (about a cup). Add sachet and allow it to simmer with the lid on. The onions will take on a lovely purple color. When finished they are soft and delicious.