Hen of the Wall
Last year for the premier party we made a honeyed chicken - it was fun to make and one of the easier recipes to dive into for our first Game of Thrones Party. If you’re interested in this amazing recipe, you can find it here:
This year, we're taking a baby step to the bit more complicated and creating our very own version of this recipe:
We had some family over a few weeks ago to give it a good test run and the result was... seriously nomable. Here's what we did:
The thing that makes this recipe is the stuffing. These ladies really outdid themselves in the creative process here. Not your typical stuffing by any means but still incredibly flavorful and rich with the mixture of carrots and prunes. The base of this stuffing is oatmeal, and though a little unconventional, it really holds the rest of the ingredients together really well. The first time we made it, we doubled the recipe since we were feeding so many and with such easy instructions, making as much or as little of this stuffing as you want is very easy. Make lots of it though! Even if you're only cooking one bird, my suggestion is to double up on the stuffing because you can roast it right alongside your chicken. Pairing the moist tender chicken with this amazing stuffing will surely mean no leftovers so plan ahead!
Now, what this recipe does not tell you is how to season and roast your chicken. It also doesn't tell you that taking the opportunity to roast a crap-ton of vegetables in with your chicken will not only make an ideal "One pot meal..." and give you a dishes break, but will also provide you with an additional side to serve with your chicken that your guests will think is amazing.
Let’s start with seasoning your bird.. or birds in my case, all 4 of them.
You can chose whatever seasonings you prefer here but for chicken, I like to use it's best friends salt, pepper and sage. Chicken loves sage like Ricky loves Lucy. Trust me, it's amazing. The first thing that you need to do when cooking your chicken (And really, this rings true for all meat...) is dry it off! You'll have it in some packaging no doubt that will be just sopping in meat juices. I like to rinse my chickens off and give them a good pat-down. Not only will this make the chicken taste better but I can also double check that it's not trying to sneak giblets by me.. or smuggling any weapons into my oven. I run a tight ship here.
Next, I am going to mix my salt (1/2 teaspoon) pepper (1 teaspoon) and sage (1 tablespoon) per chicken with about 1/2 of olive oil. The trick to yummy anything is making sure it is well seasoned and this amazing combination will be a great rub-down for our bird. Don't rub the bird down quite yet though, you want to get your veggies in order first.
I have a giant roasting pan that I use all the time for these types of things. It's big and deep and works perfectly for roasting large quantities of all kinds of yumminess. It's going to seem like we're going to bit overboard with the veggies here but we're not. My quantities will be much much bigger since I'm cooking 4 birds - I'm adjusting for you with 1.
For 1 bird you will want to use 6 leeks, 12 BIG carrots, 1 onion, a head of garlic (Yes, a head of garlic... we love the garlic but one of my guests is allergic to garlic so we'll be using shallots instead...) and mushrooms if you want to add them.
If you've never cooked with a leek (Rhymes with FREAK!) it's not as daunting as it might seem. The trick is to clean them well. Usually I chop the roots part off and cut the rest on a bias in 1-1 1/2 inch slices until I reach the top 3 inches or so - that I just toss in the compost. You'll need a great big bowl of water too and once they're cut you'll want to toss those babies in the water to clean them. You're not done yet though! I like to peel them apart and separate them into rings just to make sure I've gotten all the dirt out. Jooge them in the water a bit (Technical term...) and all the dirt will sink to the bottom while the leeks float on the top. Once they're cleaned, transfer them into another big bowl that the rest of the veggies will go into - trying to get as much of the water off in the process as you can.
I prefer to skin my carrots so I'll take the next few minutes doing that. After they're skinned, I will chop them on a bias the same way I chopped the leeks. I want to make sure that the veggies are mostly the same size so that they will cook evenly.
The onion gets a super rough chop because it always makes me cry. I chop the ends off, skin it, chop it in half, half again, and each half into halves then separate and toss them into the bowl with the carrots and leeks.
If you're using garlic (And you should unless you have a guest who is allergic...) you will want to chop the head off the garlic, smash each clove, peel the skin of and toss the whole smashed clove in your bowl. If you're not using garlic, and you're using a shallot do the same thing. There, easy..
Now you have a giant bowl full of veggies that you'll need to season. Remember what you did to season the chicken? Do that again only double up on everything. Pour this mixture in your bowl full of veggies and mix it well, making sure that every veggies is coated with your seasoned oil. We do this to make sure they don't burn in the roasting pan. It gets HOT in there and we're not going for Cajun style.