The Complete Chicken
Makes 8 servings
2 tablespoons margarine (not butter)
1 medium-size yellow onion, coarsely chopped
6 ounces mozarella cheese
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh parsley leaves
2 cups broccoli florets, blanched
1 cup cauliflower florets, blanched
3 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary (see Note)
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium-size fresh jalapeño pepper (or use serrano, cayenne, bird's-eye or other hot peppers) stemmed and finely chopped (do not remove seeds), about 1 tablespoon (see Note)
2 tablespoons finely chopped green onions (tops only)
2 tablespoons Chef Paul Prudhomme's Poultry Magic®
2 (3-pound) chickens
how to prepare
Note: If you use dried rosemary, chop it finely and use only ½ teaspoon. Dried herbs are stronger than fresh. Use only fresh peppers; do not substitute pickled jalapeño or other pickled peppers.
Melt the margarine in a small sauté pan over medium heat. Add the coarsely chopped onion and sauté until transparent. Reduce the heat and continue to cook until the onions are a golden brown, about 15 minutes. (You should end up with about ¾ cup caramelized onions.) Set aside. Coarsely grate the mozzarella, then very finely chop the parsley leaves by hand, not with a food processor. (You should end up with about 2 tablespoons chopped parsley.) Dice the broccoli and cauliflower florets into ½-inch dice and place in a large mixing bowl. Add Parmesan, rosemary, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, the jalapeño pepper, green onion tops, reserved onions, mozzarella and parsley. Mix well by hand, then sprinkle 3 teaspoons of Poultry Magic over the mixture, adding just 1 teaspoon at a time and mixing well with your hands after each teaspoon. Divide the mixture in half and set aside in tow separate bowls. Preheat oven to 350°.
Remove the giblets from the chickens and reserve for use in other recipe. Remove all excess fat from the birds and wash them well, inside and out. Then place the chickens beast side up with the drumsticks extended toward you. Working with just one chicken at a time using your fingers, start from the bottom end of the breast (nearest you) and separate the skin from the meat, being careful not to tear the skin. (The motion is simply pushing the fingers forward toward the neck end of the chicken.) When you work all the way up to the front of the breast, repeat the procedure with the thighs and drumsticks, but not the wings and back. Working with a small handful of the vegetable/cheese mixture at a time, stuff the mixture under the skin, working toward the neck end; then stuff drumsticks and thighs, using all of that half f the mixture. If the skin should happen to tear, simply lace the opening together with a round wooden toothpick, making a kind of tuck in the skin. Repeat the procedure with the remaining chicken and stuffing mixture. Place the chickens breast side up in a large baking pan and brush the tops with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Then sprinkle the tops evenly with the remaining 1 tablespoon of Poultry Magic.
Place the baking pan in the center of the oven and bake for 1 hour. Remove pan and check drumsticks to see if chicken is done - - the drumsticks will move freely if the chicken is cooked. If the chicken is not cooked, replace the pan in the oven and continue to cook for an additional 15 minutes. Remove pan from oven and check chicken again. If done, increase the oven temperature to 425°. And immediately place the pan back in the center of the oven. Bake for 15 minutes or until the skin is a dark golden brown. Remove from oven.
Remove the chickens from the baking pan and place on a large cookie sheet and let set for 15 minutes. (If you leave them in the pan, they will reabsorb the pan drippings. You can save the pan drippings for making a wonderful gravy.)
Place one chicken on a wooden carving board and with a carving knife, remove the thigh/leg quarters and place on a large serving platter. Then cut into the center of the breast of the chicken along one side of the breast bone. Turn the knife on its side and carefully remove the breast intact and boneless, and place on the serving platter. Then remove the other side of the breast similarly. Using the same procedure, carve the second chicken, adding it to the platter.
Serve immediately, allowing 1 breast half or thigh/leg quarter per person. (Note: The wings and any excess meat on the chicken carcass make for wonderful snacking or you can carefully remove all remaining meat and use it to make an outstanding chicken salad with a nice roasted taste.)