Insalata di Arance [Orange Salad]

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Chicken Stuffed with Sage, Fennel and Bread

Active cooking time: 15-20 Minutes
Total cooking time: Approx. 1 hour
Serves baby and 6 adults [or 2 adults with leftovers for everyone]

This recipe is so easy I almost didn’t post it. But friends have been asking for the simple dishes, so here it is – the easiest and one of the best. I love it for those reasons, but also because though not a grain of salt is added, the dish is savory and satisfying. The sage infuses the chicken and the stuffing and if that hasn’t convinced you, it uses those end pieces of bread no one ever eats – so if they’re sitting in your freezer, liberate your shelf space with this simple recipe.

2 small chickens [2.5-3 pound each, or 1.3 kilo each], organic if you can 
Leftover bread – any kind that doesn’t have nuts
Fresh Sage
Fennel, leek and other root vegetables [peeled if some are earmarked for a younger baby]
Chicken or vegetable broth

Clean chickens and stuff with bread broken into pieces, a handful of fresh sage, and if you’re so inclined, chopped fennel. You can cook this dish in the oven or on stove top: 
On the stove, put chickens in a large pot with about 4-5 cups of broth – there is no need to cover the chickens, and watered down broth is fine [some white wine is fine too for older babies and toddlers]. Bring to a boil and meanwhile add leek and chopped root vegetables – carrot is great with this recipe, as is potato and fennel. Simmer, cover and leave until chicken is cooked through. You may want to remove the chicken and let the vegetables cook longer if you want them soft for baby. 
In the oven, place the stuffed chicken, vegetables and broth in a large clay baking dish and roast until chicken is cooked through, basting every 20 minutes or so. Remove chicken and cook vegetables longer if you want them softer for baby.

For baby: remove some of the chicken, both dark and light, and puree if necessary. Baby can also get the root vegetables from this dish, again pureed if necessary. Chicken and vegetable should be served with a grain. Buckwheat works great with this, or try the stuffing.

For adults: Lightly salt chicken, vegetables and stuffing [optional]. Serve with plenty of the broth on top of the stuffing.

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