La Gallina Ripiena

Stuffed chicken

This recipe for stuffed boiled chicken is one of the best and most typical of the Camaiore area. At Greppolungo they splash rough red wine into the chicken broth just before serving, an interesting Tuscan variation on sherry in consomme.

Ingredients

  • 1 large boiling fowl with giblets
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 stick celery
  • 1 onion
  • salt
  • 1 leek
  • olive oil

For the Stuffing

  • 2 slices ham or mortadella sausage, chopped
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme, chopped
  • 3 slices bread, soaked in milk
  • 6 tbsp pecorino cheese, grated
  • 8 oz/225 g ground (minced) veal or lean beef
  • 1-2 eggs
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
  • ½-¾ tsp nutmeg

Method

First make the stuffing. In a large frying pan gently cook the chicken giblets in the oil until they change colour. Chop finely and reserve. Add the sausage, meat and garlic to the pan and cook just until the meat starts to brown. Mix with the giblets, herbs, bread, cheese and 1 beaten egg. If this does not bind the stuffing, add another beaten egg. Clean, wash and dry the inside of the chicken. Pack loosely with the stuffing-the stuffing tends to swell in cooking and you don’t want an exploding chicken. Sew up both ends of the chicken so that nothing can escape. Put in a large flameproof casserole with the carrots, celery, onion, leek and salt and cover with water. The water should be about 1 in/2.5 cm over the chicken. Bring to a boil and then simmer over a low heat for about 2½ hours, until the chicken is cooked. Remove it from the pan, cut the threads, carefully lift out the stuffing, which should be quite solid, and serve both the chicken and the stuffing sliced thinly and garnished with either fresh thyme or Tuscan salsa verde. To make a complete meal of this, remove the vegetables from the broth and boil fresh tortellini or ravioli gnudi in it to serve as soup before the chicken.