This recipe for baby chickens stuffed with pork and sage is a simple way to put a showstopper on the table. The pork stuffing that is bound together with onion, apple and sage, adds amazing flavour to these plump birds as they roast in a delicious mustard, garlic & wine jus. Trussed to keep the delicious filling intact, they make the perfect whole portion for one person to tuck selfishly into.
I bought these free-range baby chickens – or poussin as they would say in French, from Elgin Farms. I had them stashed away in my freezer because they are difficult to come by and I knew I would want them for a future recipe. Having recently attended the launch of the 2019 vintage of the De Wetshof Estate Limestone Hill, I thought I would roast them to pair with one of my favourite South African Wines.
In the past, I have made a coq au Chardonnay with the complex unwooded Limestone Hill, and this uses the wine in the dish, and its the perfect wine to drink with it too. I also added a splash to my risotto Milanese that I topped with brown butter pan-fried prawns. With this recipe, I added a good glug to the stock that goes in the pan, as I love nothing more than a flavour-packed pan jus with my roast chicken. I normally add lots of herbs to the mix, but since I was stuffing these birds with parsley and sage I decide to leave the pan stock a little simpler and only added a few bay leaves.
Recipe serves 2 generously
- 2 chickens/poussinpoussin
- 250ml strong chicken stock
- 100ml dry white wine such as De Wetshof Limestone Hill Chardonnay
- 1 heaped teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 3 bay leaves (optional)
- Splash of olive oil or a knob of butter
- ½ white onion very finely chopped
- ½ apple, peeled and grated
- 3 pork sausages, removed from their casings
- ¼ cup breadcrumbs or panko crumbs
- Small handful of parsley leaves, finely chopped
- 6 – 8 sage leaves, finely chopped
- Salt and pepper
- Pre heat the oven to 180C / 350 F
- Heat the olive oil or butter in a non-stick frying pan and fry the onion until softened but not browned, about 4 minutes. Add the apple and continue to cook for a further minute. Allow to cool slightly.
- Add the onion mixture to a bowl with the sausage meat, breadcrumbs, chopped herbs and seasonings and mix well. Divide this mixture into two and stuff each baby chicken with it. Tie the legs tightly together (truss) with a piece of string.
- Place the two chickens snugly in a high-sided roasting dish. Mix the stock, white wine, Dijon mustard and garlic together and pour this over the chickens. Add the bay leaves to the dish and bake as follows in the oven
- Breast side facing up – 20 minutes
- Flipped over with underside facing up – 20 minutes
- Flipped back up right with breasts facing up – 20 minutes and until golden brown.
- Baste the chickens each time you flip them, and if the stock gets very dry, add a splash of hot water to the tray.
- Remove the chickens from the pan and if necessary add a little more hot water to the pan and scrape up any pan juices and heat through. This makes the most delicious gravy to serve with the chicken. Serve with a crusty baguette or country loaf to mop up any excess.
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