1 Whole frying chicken with
4 Pieces of oatmeal bread
4 Or 5 scallions
1/2 lb Or so button mushrooms
1 bn Parsley
2 Eggs, beaten
1/2 lb Or so of soft butter
First off, make the stuffing. Toast the oatmeal bread about medium
brown. When it pops up, let it sit in the toaster for a few minutes
to dry out. Chop the scallions into pieces about 1/4-to 1/2-inch long.
Slice the button mushrooms or cut them into quarters if they're small.
Chop the parsley roughly. Cut the dried toast into pices about 1/2
inch square. Put all these goodies into a large mixing bowl, add the
eggs and mix well. Salt the stuffing to taste. Use pepper too if you
like it. I sometimes also add Bell's Poultry Seasoning.
At this point I reserve some of the stuffing++maybe a quarter or a
third++and add the chopped giblets to it as I find that a lot of folks
don't like them in the stuffing, hard as that may be to grasp. But it
works out good for me, as you'll see. After the chicken is washed and
dried, stuff the critter with the stuffing from the non-gibletted
Back when I developed this dish++when I didn't know how to cook++I
took the word at it's face value and *stuffed* the stuffing into the
body cavity. Since then I've heard that it's considered good form to
stuff it loosely to allow for expansion. Don't listen to these lies.
Stuff that sucker full!
Heat the oven to between 350F and 400F. Rub the chicken with butter
and salt it. Put the stuffed chicken, breast side up, on a roasting
rack in a pan of some sort with sides about an inch or so high++a big
pyrex cake pan works well. I use one of those racks with the
adjustable sides to hold the bird in place though anything will work
except a vertical roaster.
Now here's where the sly part comes in. Have a fork or a pair of
chopsticks handy. I recommend chopsticks if you can use them. You'll
see why in a minute. Take the gibletted dressing and pack it all
over the surface of the chicken, patting it into place. Put the neck
where you can reach it to baste it. Dot the stuffing generously with
pats of butter. (This ain't health food...) Put the bird into the
oven and close the door. Don't look for about fifteen minutes or so.
Chat. Entertain your guests. Pour them some more wine.
After fifteen minutes you, as the cook, will be ready to begin one of
the best meals of your life while your guests sit unsuspecting,
waiting for the bird to be done. When the time has elapsed, start
basting with a bulb baster. Do this regularly and religiously every
five to ten minutes or so. Salt occasionally. The stuffing and
giblets on top of the chicken will start to brown as you baste it
with the flavor laden combo of butter and chicken juices. The toast
bits will get crispy. The scallions will add their luscious juices to
the basting liquid. The mushrooms will steam and beckon. Soon you'll
be picking off the browner bits and savoring them. Each time you open
the oven, a new selection of bits will be ready for your delectation!
Try to look harried and pained so your guests won't know how much fun
Give them some more wine to keep them quite. Have a little yourself.
Maybe serve a salad or something... If any of them get suspicious,
tell them you're "adjusting the seasonings". That should throw them
off the track enough that none of them will be tempted to "help" you
with that arduous task. Heh, heh, heh...
As you gradually clear the stuffing off the surface of the chicken the
skin will begin to brown too. Keep basting! The chopsticks come in
real handy now for retrieving the bits of mushrooms, giblets and
whatever that fall down under the rack. They can get in where it's
hard to get a fork. The dish is done when all the stuffing coating
the outside of the bird is in your stomach and the skin has turned a
nice, crispy, savory golden brown. Take the chicken out, put it on
the serving platter and de-stuff it. Serve with rolls, salads,
veggies, mashed taters and gravy (made of course, with instant mashed
potatoes)++whatever your guests like or whatever strikes your fancy.
You won't care. You'll already be full! I generally polish off a leg
and a wing or so just for appearance's sake though. Oh yeah++and I
always make the "sacrifice" and take the perfectly roasted, crispy
skinned neck so my guest won't have to suffer through it...
Two cautions. One about the stuffing. I love it, but it won't taste
like traditional stuffings. It will be redolent of mushrooms,
parsley and scallions, very moist and++to my taste++quite nice. I
really like the taste of oatmeal bread. Using other bread, you'd
probably have to spiff up the seasonings a bit. The other caution
is++do not use garlic! Heresy, I know, to some folks, but I tried it
and it disrupted the nice balance of flavors.
For folks who like crispy skin, all the basting produces an excellent
skin++full of flavor and crispy. Good stuff++a meal in itself.