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Before starting this Christmas Chicken with Chestnut Stuffing and Almond Potatoes recipe, make sure you have organised all the necessary ingredients.
Place 20 grams of lard (or duck fat) in a saucepan.
Add the chicken livers.
Brown over high heat for a few minutes.
Remove from the heat and transfer into a recipient. Let cool.
Slice the onions.
Place the onions in the saucepan used to cook the livers.
Sweat for a few minutes.
Add the sausage meat...
... and combine. For this recipe, I chose to precook the stuffing as this significantly reduces roasting time for the chicken. You may also choose not to precook the stuffing. This will require a longer roasting time and could result in the chicken being overcooked.
Finely chop the parsley.
Process the chicken livers through a sifter, using a dough scraper...
... so that you obtain a purée-like consistency.
Add the sifted liver preparation to the sausage meat.
Flambé with Cognac.
Soak the stale bread in milk.
Add the parsley to the stuffing.
Combine well with a spatula.
Strain the bread, squeezing it hard to remove milk excess.
Add to the stuffing. Combine and let cool.
Add the whole eggs...
... and the whole chestnuts.
Combine all the ingredients. Season with salt and pepper.
Transfer the stuffing into a large dish and let cool.
Dress the chicken...
... then singe to remove any persistent down or feathers. I recommend using a blow torch, but you can also do this operation with an open flame on a gas stove.
Season the inside of the chicken with salt and pepper.
Fill the inside with the stuffing. Make sure every corner is filled.
Tie the chicken with a poultry lacer.
Prick the lacer at the base of the hole, then work upwards, twisting the lacer and pricking the skin every time. This tools ensures an easy and quick operation.
Place the chicken in a roasting dish.
Pour the melted lard (or duck fat) over the chicken. Do not use too much lard, as the chicken is going to render fat while roasting.
Bake at 200°C (gas 6) for 1.5 to 2 hours. The cooking time depends on the weight of the chicken. For this recipe, I used a 3.340kg chicken and roasted it for exactly 2 hours. The cooking was absolutely perfect!
For the almond potatoes: While the chicken is in the oven, prepare the almond potatoes.
Peel and wash the potatoes.
Cut into quarters, then cover with cold water and bring to a boil.
Strain immediately so the potatoes do not absorb too much water.
Place them on a baking tray and cook them in the oven for a few minutes to dry.
Process the potatoes through a food mill.
Transfer the mash into a saucepan and dry off over medium heat for a few minutes.
Add the butter...
... and season with salt, ground (or Espelette) pepper and nutmeg.
Away from the heat, add the eggs and combine thoroughly.
Scoop the preparation into a piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle (Ø 10mm).
Pipe the potato preparation into the shape of your choice (small balls for example). Refrigerate for about 20 minutes for a firmer texture.
Make a batter with 3 whole eggs, salt and pepper.
Pour flour in a separate plate and flaked almonds in another one.
Shape each ball by rolling between your palms.
Coat them with flour...
... then with batter...
... and eventually with flaked almonds.
Make sure each ball has a generous coating.
Place the almond potatoes in the deep fryer basket...
... and immerse in oil heated at 180°C.
When almost done, the potato balls will come up to the surface.
Strain the almond potatoes and place on a paper towel. Season with a little salt. Keep warm.
When the chicken is ready, remove the poultry lacer in an anticlockwise motion.
The chicken can be served whole, with a side of chestnuts browned in butter and almond potatoes. For the sauce: Skim the fat in the roasting dish and deglaze with white wine (which has been heated beforehand) to dissolve the juices. Transfer into a small saucepan. Add the chicken stock and reduce. Add the butter and whisk to give the sauce a creamier consistency. Adjust the seasoning if needed.
Then simply cut the chicken at the table, in front of your guests. You can also do this operation before serving it, that is if you feel you will make a mess and end up being the laughing stock!
You may also wish to serve individual portions on a plate. Make sure you add a side of chestnut stuffing.
It is up to you to cut the chicken in the kitchen or at the dinner table... ... and let each guest choose his/her favourite part. The chicken and side dishes should be served hot.