The quest for the perfect roast chicken. Spanish Chicken with White Bean and Chorizo Stuffing.

As some of you may know, for the last 10 yrs, I have been on the quest for the perfectly roasted chicken.  I

can’t even begin to tell you how many birds I’ve cooked during this time, many to prove as failures.  But, similar to many great achievements over history, a failure is a lesson learned, not the end of the game.  The quest for perfection is a noble endeavor, and it implies one certain thing:  You will never achieve perfection.  It doesn’t exist.  But we try, and thus is the quest.  The pursuit to better oneself or in this case, one’s achievement.  This is a very deep and introverted monologue, especially in lieu of that fact that this blog is about a roast chicken.  Comical.  But it pertains to the greater scheme of things, and in cooking, especially high end restaurant cooking, or home cooking where a lot of passion resides, it’s important to keep yourself aligned.  Never loose faith in what you’re doing, and never give up.  Perfection does not exist.  But the journey is worth more than its weight in gold.

Back to topic.  Roast chicken.  I’ve always been under the impression that a ‘roast’ chicken needs to be roasted.  Obvious?  Roasting is a technique.  It’s a dry heat cooking technique.  Dry heat implies zero or as little liquid as possible.  Liquid plus heat equals steam.  Steaming.  A different technique altogether.  Okay, I think we’re on to something now.  So every time I’ve roasted a chicken, I’ve trying to minimize the liquid content.  Or produce some sort of barrier.  Like butter.  I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts to dry the chicken thoroughly.  Ensure to not add a lot of vegetables or citrus that will in turn produce steam.  Rub butter under the skin to create a barrier.  And I must say, I’ve made some excellent roast chickens over the years.

But let’s re-cap on what we want.  What is our desire?  What should the final product be like?  You can’t reach a goal if you can’t define a goal.  So in short, I want the chicken to be juicy, flavorful, cooked perfectly, tender, and I want the skin to be dark, crisp, and slightly salty.  It’s a tall order, but it’s what I want.

I have recently tried a ‘new’ method of roasting the chicken, which is really more like steaming, or ‘braising’ that absolutely blew my mind.  It’s hands down the best roast chicken I have ever made, and it’s simple!  Ten years and probably thousands of chickens and the answer was right in front of me all the time.  Spanish chicken… Yes.  Check out this recipe, and if you don’t produce the best roast chicken you’ve ever had, then I want your recipe!

Spanish Roast Chicken with White Bean Stuffing

Prep time:  30 min
Cook time:  2 hours
Inactive Cook time:  20 min
Yield:  4 small portions

Ingredients:

For the stuffing:

1 can white beans, drained
2 links cooked/smoked Spanish chorizo sausage, thin cut into disks
1/2 yellow onion, small dice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup prepared chicken stock
1/4 cup half and half
2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only, rough chop
1 egg
1 tbsp spanish paprika
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt
ground black pepper

For the Chicken:

1 4-6lb chicken, patted dry inside and out
1 yellow onion, sliced
kosher salt
ground black pepper
2 tbsp spanish paprika
extra virgin olive oil
3 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only, rough chop
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup prepared chicken stock

Method:

For the stuffing:

In a medium sized straight side saute pan, begin sauteing the chorizo in the olive oil.  As the chorizo renders and begins to color, add the onion and saute until translucent.  Add the beans and white wine and bring to a boil.  Cook until most of the wine is evaporated and the beans are thick.  Add the chicken stock, paprika and thyme.  Cook again until thick.  Add the half and half and cook until thick.  Remove from heat and transfer the mix to a mixing bowl.  Let cool slightly.  Add the egg and work in until completely mixed.  Your stuffing is ready.

For the chicken:

Heat your oven to 400.  Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken.  Stuff it and truss it tightly.  If you are not comfortable with this, just tie the legs together with twine as tight as possible, to keep the stuffing inside.  Now rub the chicken on all sides with the olive oil.  Liberally salt, pepper and sprinkle the chicken with paprika.  Sprinkle the top with the thyme.  Place the sliced onions in a large straight side saute pan or small roasting pan.  Place the chicken on top of the onions and pour the wine and chicken stock into the pan.  Cover tightly with aluminum foil and cook in the over for 1 hour.  Remove the foil, turn the oven down to 350 and cook for one more hour.  Remove the chicken from the oven and let rest.  Let the chicken rest for 20 minutes on a cutting board so you can reduce the pan jus.  Carve the chicken, remove the stuffing, and spoon the sauce (jus) over the top.  Serve right away.

Enjoy.

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