Roast chicken with squash and sourdough stuffing
- October 2016
- Serves 4-6
- Hands-on 35 min, oven 2 hours 25 minutes, plus resting
Sourdough bread, squash, sherry and fresh thyme make the stuffing for this crispy, golden-skinned chicken. Try it as an alternative to your regular Sunday roast.
- 21.1g (7.1g saturated)
- 35.9g (10.7g sugars)
For the stuffing
- 1kg squash (1 whole butternut), chopped into roughly 2cm squares
- 2 red onions, sliced into wedges
- 1 garlic bulb, halved horizontally
- Olive oil for drizzling
- Large handful walnuts, chopped
- 75ml dry oloroso or amontillado sherry, or madeira
- 200g sourdough bread, torn or chopped into small chunks
- A few fresh thyme sprigs
- 50g unsalted butter
For the chicken
- 2kg British free-range chicken
- ½ lemon
- Small bunch fresh thyme sprigs
- Olive oil for drizzling
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- 100ml dry oloroso or amontillado sherry, or madeira
- 300ml fresh chicken stock
- Heat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6. Put the squash and onions in a large roasting tray, then nestle in one half of the garlic bulb (set aside the other half). Drizzle with olive oil, then toss to coat and season with salt. Roast for 40-45 minutes, turning the veg halfway through, until the squash is soft and the onions are beginning to caramelise at the edges. Add the walnuts, 75ml sherry/madeira and the bread to the roasting tray for the last 10 minutes of the cooking time.
- Remove the roasting tray from the oven and transfer the squash mixture to a large bowl, along with any juices. Squeeze the garlic from its skin (discard the skin) then, once cool enough to handle, mash the squash and mix everything together with your hands. Season and loosely pack the mixture into a shallow ovenproof dish (about 1.5 litres). Add the thyme, dot with butter, then set aside.
- Put the chicken in a roasting tin and put the ½ lemon, remaining ½ garlic bulb and small bunch of thyme sprigs into its cavity. Drizzle over a little oil, season with salt, then roast for 20 minutes. Turn the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4 and roast for 50-60 minutes; 10 minutes before the end of the roasting time, put the stuffing in the oven on the shelf below the chicken.
- Once the chicken has reached 70°C when tested in the thickest part of the thigh with a digital thermometer (or once the fibres are clearly set and not gelatinous, and the juices run clear), remove from the oven to a carving board to rest. Put the stuffing on a higher rack in the oven for another 20 minutes to crisp on top.
- Pour the juices from the chicken tin into a jug and skim the fat off the top. Put the fat in a saucepan over a medium heat, then stir in the flour. Cook for 1-2 minutes at a bubble, then pour in the sherry/madeira and the cooking juices. Turn up the heat and bubble until the alcohol smell cooks off. Gradually pour in the stock, keeping the heat high so it bubbles and stirring until it thickens to a gravy.
- Once the stuffing is golden and crisp on the top and the chicken has had at least 20 minutes to rest, carve the meat and drizzle with a little of the gravy. Serve the chicken and stuffing with potatoes and seasonal greens, with the remaining gravy on the side.
Off-dry madeira gives a sweeter finish than dry sherry. If you don’t have either, you could use white wine.
Make the stuffing to the end of step 2 up to 24 hours in advance, then keep covered in the fridge until ready to bake.
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