Sweet Chicken

Sweet Medieval Style Chicken 

Sweet Medieval Style Chicken

Medieval tastes were far sweeter and in some ways less restrained than we are today.  This recipe is as close to the medieval as I can muster, before it becomes overly sweet and the chicken flavour is lost amid the aroma of herbs and fruit.  The stuffing is amazingly delicious, and though it may seem unfamiliar to our modern table, there is a real balance to cooking meat, poultry and game with a little fruit.

Sweet Medieval Style Chicken

1 large, free range, organic chicken

200 grams prunes, chopped

200 grams dates, chopped

1 tablespoon of honey

1 ½ cups port

½  teaspoon horseradish or hot mustard

1 tablespoon sage, chopped

Good bunch of parsley, finely chopped

1 tablespoon whole blanched almonds

1 cup brown rice, cooked in stock with a pinch of saffron

½ cup flour liberally laced with nutmeg, pepper and a pinch of cinnamon

 

Pre-heat the oven to 200°C

 

 

Boil the brown rice in stock or salted water until al dente.

 

To make the stuffing, soak the dates and prunes in the port for 30 minutes in a warm place.  

 

Once the dried fruit is fat and juicy, add the honey, then add the herbs, horseradish and the rice.   Combine well, squishing the prunes into the rice almost to a paste.  Lastly, add the almonds and stuff into the bird allowing any excess liquid to go into the cooking pan.  Sew up the cavity with a rosemary sprig to prevent the stuffing from escaping and tie up the legs.

 

Cover the chicken entirely with a thin smear of butter, and sprinkle over a little flour laced with nutmeg, pepper and cinnamon.  For best results - fill a large freezer bag with the spiced flour mix and add the chicken, massaging the flour into the skin.  The aim here is to get a good covering of flour so the skin is crispy and golden once roasted.

 

Place the chicken onto a baking rack within the baking tray to keep the skin off the bottom of the pan.   Add a few onions or garlic cloves and a slice of lemon to the bottom of the baking tray to add extra flavour. 

 

Traditionally this would have been cooked on a spit or open fire, regularly basted by a fire-boy  - if you are lucky enough to have such facilities, by all means cook your chook thus...  For everyone else, bake in a fairly hot oven for around 1 ½ hours, or until the skin is quite crisp and the meat cooked through well.

 

Serve with steamed vegetables or additional brown rice with the spicy fruit stuffing and a few toasted almonds.