Friday, January 25, 2013

Roast Chicken with Oatmeal Stuffing-Happy Robert Burns Day!

Pat McDermott here, wishing everyone a Happy Robert Burns Day, and I can't think of a better recipe to help celebrate than this scrumptious roast chicken and its wonderfully Scottish stuffing and bread sauce.

Some years ago, while driving around New Hampshire's Lake Winnipesaukee, I stopped in a Celtic store that probably no longer exists and purchased a book of Traditional Scottish Recipes by Rosalie Gow. Most of the recipes dealt with rabbit and other obscure game that will probably never enter my kitchen (but never say never, sez I). The haggis, Cloutie Dumplings, and Drambuie Soufflé sounded interesting, but the Roast Chicken with Oatmeal Stuffing caught my attention right off. The recipe simply stated: "If you have never tried chicken or turkey stuffed with oatmeal and served with bread sauce, I advise you to do so now."

Compelling words, and rightfully so. The bread sauce is to die for, simple and healthful. I found the oatmeal stuffing delicious, but better, in my opinion, when enhanced with a few fresh herbs. If you have never tried it, I advise you to do so now!

For the Stuffing:
1 cup oatmeal or loose oats
Poultry herbs, such as fresh sage and/or thyme
¼ cup butter (½ stick)
1 small onion, minced
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350°. Mix oatmeal, onion, herbs, and salt and pepper together in a bowl by rubbing into the butter. Stuff and truss a good-size roasting chicken. Smear chicken with butter and/or bacon fat and roast until done, basting occasionally. (Note: A pop-up timer is always helpful when roasting chicken.)

For the Bread Sauce:
Remove crusts from 2 large slices of bread. Process into crumbs. Place crumbs in small saucepan with 1¼ cups milk, salt and pepper, and a small onion stuck with 4-5 cloves. Bring to a boil. Simmer to infuse flavors for 20-30 minutes. Remove onion, adjust seasonings, and serve with chicken. (Note, some cooks mince the onion and leave it in the sauce. A matter of taste, entirely.) Enjoy!

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