Shocking! I'm not posting a dessert recipe. It seems like that's all I've been posting lately, but the regular dinner stuff I've been cooking just doesn't seem post-worthy! When it's this hot (it's been over 100 degrees for the past few days, but we finally got a little break today after a passing rain shower overnight!) I usually keep it simple....some fish and vegetables tossed on the grill. But I made this chicken a few weeks ago and we loved it so much that I thought I would share. I know the picture sucks, but the taste of the chicken more than makes up for it.
I did this with a whole chicken that I butterflied.....here's a video on how to do that yourself (it's simple), or you can always ask the butcher to do it for you. Or even easier, you can simply do this with a few whole chicken breasts.....bone in, skin on, of course! And you can even make the stuffing a day ahead and keep it in the fridge until you're ready making this a relatively quick weeknight dinner.
The smells this creates coming from you oven while it's baking are mouthwatering. Actually smelled like lasagna!! Oh, and don't throw that left-over filling away (I actually advise making extra!!). Bake it in a separate dish and serve it on the side. Dayum, is it good!
I adjusted the herbs also, based on what was in my garden. I used chopped fresh basil, oregano, parsley and lemon thyme. Use what you like.
Here's the recipe:
Ricotta and Herb Stuffed Chicken
Gourmet Magazine, July 2007
(The recipe is for two whole chickens, so adjust accordingly)
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 cups whole-milk ricotta (preferably fresh; 2 lb)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (2 oz)
1/4 cup chopped fresh oregano
1/4 cup shopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 whole chickens (about 3 1/2 lbs each)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F with racks in middle and lower third.
Cook garlic in oil in a small heavy skillet over medium-low heat stirring occasionally, until golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and stir in ricotta, eggs, parmesan, herbs 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
Take the butterflied chickens and spread them flat, skin sides up, in a oiled large 17- by 12-inch) shallow baking pan. Gently slide your finger between skin and flesh of breast and legs of chicken to loosen skin (be careful not to tear skin). Using a small spoon, slide 2/3 cup ricotta mixture under skin, using a finger on outside of skin to spread filling over meat of breast, thighs and drumsticks. Tuck wing tips under like pictured above. Stuff second chicken in the same manner. Brush skin of chickens all over with oil (2 tablespoons) and sprinkle each with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
Spoon remaining filling into oiled baking dish.
Bake chickens in middle of oven 30 minutes, then put dish of stuffing in oven on lower rack. Continue baking until chicken is just cooked through and an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of a thigh (through stuffing; do not touch bone) registers 170 deg. F and until gratin is puffed and golden, about 30 minutes more. Let chickens rest 10 minutes, then cut each into quarters. Serve with gratin.