Boned Coriander Double Chicken

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Preparation info

  • For

    6

    • Difficulty

      Medium

Appears in

Food of the Sun: A Fresh Look at Mediterranean Cooking

Food of the Sun

By Alastair Little and Richard Whittington

Published 1995

  • About

Coriander pesto is used to imbue the moist cold chicken with a delicious fragrance. The ‘double’ in the title comes from the fact that the boned chicken is stuffed with chicken breasts to make a dish designed to be served cold and which, when sliced, makes something as fresh and succulent to eat as it is handsome to look at on the plate. The pancetta used here is the fat bacon sold in Italian delicatessens, cut very thin to eat raw like Parma ham.

The dish is effectively a galantine and is best made the day before. You can even make the pesto up to a week in advance and keep, filmed with oil, in a tightly shut jar in the refrigerator until needed.

Ingredients

  • 1.35 kg/3 lb free-range chicken, boned (get your butcher to do it for you)
  • 2 large chicken breasts
  • 4 thin slices of pancetta
  • large sprig of tarragon
  • sprig of lemon thyme
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 glass (150 ml/¼ pt) of dry white wine
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • coriander and parsley leaves, to garnish

To Serve

  • extra-virgin oil
  • 2 lemons

For the Coriander Pesto

  • 2 large bunches of coriander leaves (sufficient to fill the bowl of a processor after the stems have been removed and when loosely packed)
  • 1 large bunch of flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 12 chive stalks
  • 150 g/ oz Reggiano Parmesan cheese
  • 85 g/3 oz pine nuts
  • 300 ml/½ pt extra-virgin olive oil

Method

Preparation

First make the coriander pesto: destalk the coriander leaves and the parsley. Peel and chop the garlic. Cut up the chives into small pieces. Break the cheese into pieces small enough to push down the feeder tube of the food processor.

Turn on the processor at full speed and work the cheese until it has the texture of coarse breadcrumbs. Do not over-process. Add the garlic and pine nuts and whizz briefly to incorporate. Stop the processor between each ingredient addition. Now add the coriander, chives and parsley and work again briefly until all the ingredients are evenly mixed.

With the processor working continuously now, pour in the olive oil in a thin stream to achieve a thick oily paste. Taste and add salt and pepper as you like. Process again briefly to incorporate the seasoning and taste.

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas6.

Spread half of the pesto on the inside of the flattened carcass of the boned bird. Wrap the chicken breasts in 2 of the pancetta slices and place these centrally on the pesto. Now spread the remaining pesto on top of them. Wrap the boned bird around these to make a neat joint.

Put the herbs and unpeeled garlic in a suitable terrine into which the chicken joint will sit snugly, or use a 900 g/2 lb loaf tin. Pour round the wine, brush the breasts of the bird with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Then put the remaining pancetta slices on top and cover loosely with foil.

Cooking

Roast for 1½ hours, removing the foil and basting after 1 hour. Baste again 20 minutes later.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin or dish, then refrigerate overnight.

Serving

Remove from the tin, place on a board and cut across into slices about 2.5 cm/1 in thick. Drizzle with a little extra-virgin olive oil and scatter the plate with fresh coriander and flat-leaf parsley. Put a wedge of lemon, cut lengthwise, beside each slice.

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