Roast Chicken with Groundnut Dressing

I don’t know what happened to the West African tradition of pairing peanuts with fowl in the Lowcountry; it just seems to have disappeared. Perhaps this more accessible recipe will revive the pleasant combination of “groundnuts” and chicken. If you don’t have any chicken stock on hand, you can make stock quickly the day before by boiling the neck and wing tips of the chicken with aromatic vegetables in 3 cups of water until it is reduced to one cup. Make the corn bread the day before as well so that you have only to assemble the stuffing and roast the bird.

Though I usually roast meats in an extremely hot oven, naturally raised chickens profit from this slower baking, which allows you to cook the dressing separately at the same time. You may want to stuff the bird, which is all right, but if you are using an extremely fatty chicken, I don’t advise it as the dressing will become soggy.

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For the Stuffing

  • ½ recipe corn bread
  • ¼ cup chopped onion
  • ¼ cup chopped celery
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • ½ teaspoon Herbal Mix
  • ¼ cup chopped dry-roasted peanuts
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 cup chicken stock

For the Roast Chicken

  • 1 3½- to 4-pound chicken
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, very soft
  • ½ cup dry-roasted peanuts
  • cayenne pepper to taste


To make the stuffing, crumble the corn bread into a large mixing bowl. Sauté the onion and celery in the peanut oil over medium-high heat until they begin to become transparent, then pour over the corn bread, mixing it all together well. Add the seasonings, peanuts, and egg and mix. Melt the butter in the chicken stock and pour into the mixture, mixing all together one last time.

Preheat the oven to 425°. Place the stuffing in an 8-inch cake pan or casserole dish. Remove any extra fat from the crop and cavity of the chicken and rub the chicken all over first with salt and pepper and then with the soft butter. In a food processor, grind the nuts very finely, working in quick bursts so as not to render them oily. Pat the outside of the chicken with the finely ground nuts and sprinkle it with cayenne.

Place the chicken on a roasting rack that will suspend the bird above the stuffing. (If you don’t have a roasting rack, simply place the chicken on top of the dressing.) Roast for about 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350° and cook until the juices run clear, about another 45 minutes. Let the bird rest for about 10 minutes before carving, then serve with a simply prepared green vegetable or salad.