Carey says: “This roast chicken is something special. Butter and sage is rubbed underneath the skin and the cavity is filled with a stuffing of Toulouse sausage (or good pork sausage), apple, sage and onion and then roasts on a bed of leeks and baby fennel bulbs. All the buttery stuffing juices fall to the bottom of the roasting pan and gently braise the leeks and fennel before it becomes melt-in-your-mouth tender. These flavours marry so well together making this chicken is an absolute delight to eat. Enjoy with crisp green beans, rosa tomatoes and pancetta, roasted baby potatoes or my make ahead French-style potato salad.”
Roast Chicken with Toulouse Sausage, Apple & Sage Stuffing,
Leeks & Fennel
1 large free-range chicken, rinsed and patted try with paper towel
50 g butter, softened
6 sage leaves
4 – 6 large leeks trimmed and halved down the length
4-6 baby fennel bulbs, thickly sliced
Freshly milled salt and pepper to taste
A few sprigs of thyme
Olive oil for drizzling
15 ml butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 pink lady or granny smith apple, peeled and finely diced
6 sage leaves, chopped
2 Toulouse or good quality pork sausages, meat squeezed out of casings
10 ml Psyllium husks, 30 ml oats or half slice of bread cut into cubes
1 egg, beaten
Loosen the skin of the chicken and carefully rub the butter underneath it (around the breast and thigh area). Push a few sage leaves under the skin too.
Prepare the stuffing: In a small pot, heat the butter and saute the onion, sage and apple until fragrant and translucent. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180 Degrees Celsius.
Place the fennel and leeks in a roasting pan to create a “bed” for the chicken to sit on.
In a large bowl combine the cooled onion mixture together with the sausage meat, husk and egg. Make sure it is evenly combined. Season with a little salt and pepper.
Use the string to truss the chicken (close the legs and tuck in the wings – this will protect the stuffing and allow even cooking of your chicken).
Place trussed chicken on the bed of leeks and fennel, season the skin well with salt and pepper and drizzle generously with olive oil. Sprinkle with a few sprigs of thyme.
Roast for 1 hour and 30 – 45 minutes, depending on size of the chicken. When pierced with a fork, the liquid should come out clear.
Allow to rest for 15 minutes before carving.
Serve chicken with roasted leeks and fennel and check out my side dish recommendations above.
To make a gravy, heat up the pan juices and 250 ml chicken stock until simmering. Stir in a slurry of 5-10 ml corn flour and a bit of stock and whisk until thickened to your liking.
I like a chunky stuffing so that’s why I enjoy using Toulouse – the meat is finely diced rather than minced (and without extenders added to it), so it has great texture and the flavour is just delicious. You kind find Toulouse or other good quality pork sausages at local delis, farmer’s markets or give Richard Bosman a call. I also dice my apple instead of grating – for more texture and of course, the “ooh, what is that?” moments.
Michael’s wine recommendation – CLICK HERE
Carey Boucher Erasmus is a food writer, photographer, recipe developer and restaurant consultant.
She says, “As far as I can remember, I loved being in the kitchen. I grew up watching my mother in wonder as she prepared a myriad of dishes on any given day. And when my grandmother baked, I would be the official bowl licker. I even owned a mini wooden oven and stove set and always imagined myself being a chef while “cooking up” pots of mud and grass.
When I was old enough to reach the real stove and sink, I started cooking and experimenting – from dodgy rubbery microwave chocolate cake to edible and sometimes rather delicious meals. I loved home-economics in high school and even joined a “catering society”.
After matric, I studied Food science and Nutrition at Cape Technikon where I specialised in recipe, product development, nutrition and food communication (styling, food demonstrating etc.). In my final year, I graduated with 8 distinctions and achieved the title of Class valedictorian which I was pretty chuffed about. I was ready to go out into the food industry!”
Do follow Carey on her website – http://bitsofcarey.co.za