Saturday Dreams of Sunday – Day 4 NaBloPoMo 2017

Self care takes many forms and Sundays in spring are pretty wonderful things. The one I’m writing about turned out to be pretty exceptional.

A few weeks ago, when Daylight Saving had just started and I’d had some fairly intense bouts of hay fever, I still felt quite discombobulated by the whole affair and my sleep cycle was utterly out of sync. With the added pressure of work and study, I felt I’d been neglecting two important things that matter to me – being fully engaged in getting the yard prepared for summer crops and making interesting food with top quality local ingredients (those I’ve grown myself or can clearly identify where they’ve come from).

So, after wandering around the yard trying to focus on pulling weeds and preparing beds, I decided to make that night’s Sunday roast a memorable one. It wasn’t a particularly special occasion, no birthday or anniversary of anything but in my household I like to think every day is a day to celebrate good food.

Around the corner from my workplace is Ziggy’s, the smallgoods manufacturer, which I’ve written about before. I was lucky enough to pick up a couple of small local free range chickens a few weeks ago when I was buying sausage and liverwurst. They disappeared into the freezer for a day just like today. Also in there were chestnuts from my yard, cooked, shelled and frozen in small batches back in late autumn. And finally, there was part of a gloriously unctuous, earthy truffle I bought from Perigord Truffles in winter. The last piece was lovingly wrapped, sealed and frozen for a day like this.

Roast Chicken with Chestnut & Truffle Stuffing (Serves 2-4)

A small whole roasting chicken

200g chestnuts, cooked, shelled and chopped fine

1 small onion, chopped fine

1 clove garlic, chopped fine

2 tabs fresh herbs, chopped fine (chose from Italian parsley, thyme, sage, French tarragon, rosemary or any combination that takes your fancy)

1 tab shaved black truffle (fresh if you can get it)

2 teas butter

A grate of nutmeg

Salt & pepper as required

1 egg, beaten

Method:

Wash and clean the chicken out thoroughly, pat dry and put to one side. Put the finely chopped chestnuts into a large bowl with the onion, garlic and fresh herbs. Season with salt and pepper, grate in a little nutmeg and mix thoroughly. Add the beaten egg and mix to combine. Finely shave the truffle and reserve two pieces. Fold the rest of the truffle gently into the mixture and carefully stuff the chicken.

Take a teaspoon of butter and place a reserved truffle shaving on top. Carefully place this under the skin on one side the breast. Do the same for the other side.

Butter and truffle slices inserted under the skin

Cook in a roasting pan as per usual, serve with roast or steamed vegetables. If like me, you have a slow cooker, make a trivet of a carrot cut length ways and halved, some celery leaves, a bay leaf, an onion halved and some more of the fresh herbs used in the stuffing. Place the chicken gently on top, pour over a half cup of dry white wine. Cook for about three hours on low and finish off for about 20 minutes in a hot oven.

The finished bird, complete with truffle “eyes”

It’s a little more work, but the results are stunning, and the stock that remains at the bottom of the slow cooker makes a wonderful base for a truffle-infused sauce. I served this as an intimate dinner for two, with roast potatoes, carrots and parsnip, all covered in that amazing sauce. With steamed vegetables, this could easily stretch to feed four – we were being piggies! The chestnut stuffing is surprisingly light but intensely flavoursome and a wonderful texture with the succulent meat.

 

You’re all very welcome and please let me know if any of you make this one!

As I write on Saturday night here in Tasmania, I’m also really looking forward to a special Sunday lunch I’m attending tomorrow at MONA – but more about that tomorrow 🙂

Take care lovelies ❤

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