You’ll just have to take my word for it, this chicken is sublime. Rather than stuff the bird with a bread mixture, I’ve opted to lay the stuffing under the bird so that it soaks up all of the wonderful, luxurious juices that the chicken releases while roasting, taking on all of the chicken’s flavour as well as the citrus that lines its cavity. Your kitchen will be positively perfumed as the chicken roasts and the garlic and onion slowly caramelize. Be sure to check the chicken every 20 or 30 minutes and drizzle the stuffing with extra chicken stock if the bread cubes are browning too quickly or becoming too brittle.
- French or Italian Bread - 4 cups thickly cubed (day-old)
- onion - 1 large, peeled, halved, and cut into 12 smaller wedges
- carrot - 1 large, peeled and thickly sliced
- celery - 1 large stalk, thickly sliced
- chicken stock - 5 tbsp
- extra virgin olive oil - 3 tbsp
- dried thyme - 1 tsp
- dried sage - 1/2 tsp (not ground) or fennel seeds
- salt - 1/2 tsp
- pepper - 1/2 tsp
- whole chicken - 1 (about 5 lb)
- lemon - 1, zested
- orange - 1 small, zested
- dried thyme - 1 tsp
- salt - 1/4 tsp
- pepper - 1/4 tsp
- chicken stock - 3/4 cup
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
In a large bowl, toss together the bread cubes, onion, carrot, celery and garlic, mixing well. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the chicken stock, oil, thyme, sage, salt and pepper. Pour over the “stuffing”, mixing until well coated. Transfer the “stuffing” mixture to a roasting pan that is about 10- x 14-inches and about 2-inches deep, mounding it in the centre of the pan.
Place the chicken on a cutting board. Remove any string and giblets. Cut the lemon and orange into quarters and stuff into the cavity. Gently pry the skin from the breast loose, without tearing or removing any skin. Massage the lemon and orange zest over the flesh of the breast, under the skin. Rub whatever zest is left on your hands over the top of the skin. Sprinkle the chicken with thyme, salt and pepper. Truss the legs together again with kitchen string and tuck the wings under the back of the chicken. Place the chicken on top of the “stuffing”. Don’t worry, it will not be able to cover all of the “stuffing”. Brush the chicken with oil. Drizzle about 1/3 of the chicken stock over any exposed bread.
Roast in the centre of the preheated oven, drizzling with extra chicken stock every 30 minutes if the bread is becoming too browned or brittle, for about 1-1/2 hours or until a meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh registers 185°F., or until the juices run clear.
Let stand for 10 minutes before carving and serving.