Chicken with Almond Stuffing

A nineteenth-century recipe from a London cookery book. The chickens weighed about 1 pound (¾ kg) each and were simply cut in half down the back, allowing half per person. They were served with a rather thin sauce, sharpened with lemon juice. Rice and french beans are good with this dish.

Ingredients

  • 2 chickens, about 1 lb (½ kg) each in weight, cleaned and cut in halves
  • ¾ stick (90 g) butter, melted
  • Flour
  • cup (1.5 dl) dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon brandy or whisky
  • cup (1.5 dl) chicken stock (a stock cube will do)
  • 1 cup (60 g) flaked almonds
  • Juice of ½ lemon

The Stuffing

  • cup (90 g) fresh fine white breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup (60 g) almonds, finely chopped (ground almonds will not do)
  • 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped parsley
  • 1 egg, well beaten
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons (30 g) butter, just melted

Method

First make the stuffing by mixing all the ingredients together in a bowl, adding the melted butter last, and stirring very well.

Grease a baking tin with a little of the butter. Flour the uncut sides of the chicken halves and lay them, cut sides upwards, in the baking tin. Put a quarter of the stuffing on to each half and mould it to a smooth filling. Spoon about a tablespoon of wine over each, reserving the rest. Then pour on the remaining melted butter. Put the chicken halves in the oven at 350°F (180°C, Gas Mark 4) and bake for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile simmer together the remaining wine, the brandy or whisky and the stock until reduced by about one-third. Five minutes before the chickens are done, take them from the oven, baste them with the stock and wine and sprinkle with the flaked almonds. Baste over the almonds and put the chicken halves back in the oven for 5 minutes so that the almonds brown delicately.

Lift the chicken halves on to a heated, flat serving dish. Pour off all but 2 teaspoons of the butter and juices from the baking tin and put it over heat. Stir in 2 teaspoons flour. Add the wine and stock and the lemon juice, pouring slowly. Check the seasoning. Pour a little of the sauce around the chickens when you are ready to serve and put the rest in a sauceboat.

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