Best Mediterranean Baked Stuffed Chicken
Why I Love This Recipe
My grandmother used to make this for big family get togethers. She would never give us the recipe until very recently, all of her children got a book of her best recipes and this was included in it! My mother passed it on to me and now i use it whenever possible.
Ingredients You'll Need
1 big whole chicken (between 6 to 8 pounds) - cleaned
4 oz dried apricots
4 oz sausages - chopped in 1 inch pieces
5 oz pork tenderloin - chopped in inch dices
8 oz prunes - pitted
2 oz raisins - pitted
Soak the raisins, prunes, and dried apricots in water for an hour. Then strain them and set them aside.
Clean the chicken, but you must leave enough skin to sew it together later. Pat it dry with a clean towel. Remove all giblets from the chicken. Make sure that the cavity is completely clean and empty. Salt the whole chicken to your liking inside and outside, and set aside.
Heat 2 tablespoon lard in a frying pan over medium heat, and add in the following order: the pork tenderloin, the sausages, the dried apricots, the prunes, and the raisins. Sautee for 5 minutes stirring often. Remove it from heat, place it in a dish, cover it and set aside.
Fill the whole cavity of the chicken with the sauteed stuffing. Many people insert the stuffing of this baked chicken recipe through the neck. My grandmother inserted the stuffing through the tail, so i've always done it like she did, and i do find it easier.
If there is stuffing left, you can add it to the baking casserole later. Sew the chicken skin together with a big needle and a thick thread. Once you finish sewing the skin, discard the needle immediately. (You wouldn't want to find it inside of your chicken while trying to enjoy your meal, how embarrassing!)
Preheat the oven to about 375 ºF (190 ºC). Grease the chicken with lard and add 2 tablespoons of lard to the baking casserole. If the chicken weighs more than 8 pounds, add 3 tablespoons. Place the whole chicken in a large baking casserole, and then cover it. If your casserole doesn't have a lid, use aluminum foil.
The baking time of this baked oven chicken recipe is about 2 hours, or 2 1/2 hours if the whole chicken is really big. After an hour in the oven, turn the whole chicken over. It is important that the baking casserole is rather big; otherwise this operation becomes very difficult. Turn the whole chicken over with the help of two big wooden spoons, and be careful not to damage the skin. Ask someone to help you if possible. Pour lard from the casserole bottom over the chicken. When the whole chicken has been baking for 1 1/2 hours, uncover the casserole so that the skin becomes golden and crusty. After baking the whole chicken for 2 hours in the oven, this baked chicken recipe is ready for your guests.
It is just fine to cook this Mediterranean chicken recipe a day earlier! Next day, you warm it up in the oven and it will taste even better. At the most, the preparation and cooking of this festive baked chicken recipe will take 3 1/2 hours. Place the whole chicken in a serving dish and serve. Traditionally, you cut it up in front of your guests, so that everyone can admire the amazing home cook's job, and ask, and fight for the part of the chicken meat they like most.