With Thanksgiving now once again a distant memory of over indulgence, and the Christmas turkey “so last year”, we thought that we dared to once again use cranberries in a recipe. They looked so good, like little delightful ruby pearls, when we were last at the vegetable store.
The cold weather has finally arrived and so, as we all tend to do when Mother Nature lulls us into a false sense of spring with unseasonably warm weather then slaps in the face with her freezing icy palm, we turn to comfort food.
This is such a divine and scrumptious chicken dish that now is the perfect time to cook it and share it with friends and loved ones on a cold and frosty night.
For this dish we used one of our Cornish game hens, but if there are more of you then it works just as well with a larger bird.
Now I am sure that, as the song goes, “chestnuts roasting on an open fire”, is the best way to de-shell these tasty morsels, but when the fire is not lit we find that the oven works pretty well.
Some advice, before roasting you must pierce the skin with a sharp knife. I have to confess that on Christmas day, when making this same stuffing I failed to carry out this simple step. Maybe it was the couple of glasses of champagne or maybe it was just Christmas dinner giddiness, but I simply took a handful of chestnuts and thew them into a pan that I nonchalantly placed in the top oven of my mother’s Aga®. After about 10 minutes there was an explosion, ok it was more of a pop, but it had sufficient force to open the oven door, and the inside of the oven was splattered with the nutty entrails of one of my chestnuts. The moral – pierce the skin or you too will have a chestnut IED.
Once roasted for about 10 minutes the skins can be easily removed from the flesh.
Place the peeled chestnuts into your food processor.
Add the washed cranberries.
Then add some breadcrumbs (about an equal amount by volume as the cranberry and chestnuts), some butter, a little chicken stock, salt and pepper.
Blitz the mix until it forms a sticky stuffing.
Now although it has become less fashionable to actually ‘stuff ‘ the bird, we find that it adds great flavor and as long as you ensure the bird is fully cooked with the addition to the weight, then we think it works much better than just having a dressing on the side. Place the stuffing in the gap around the neck and under the skin of the bird. Use your fingers to create a space between the skin and the breast then work in the stuffing.
Roast and rest the bird.
Slice and serve!