Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Roasted Pesto Chicken



I love making pan seared salmon that I finish in the oven with a generous dollop of pesto. I usually make my pesto in large batches and freeze the leftovers.. Since I had an endless reserve in my freezer I thought i'd experiment and get creative with it and EUREKA.... pesto stuffed chicken was born.


Whenever I roast any chicken,  I gently detach the skin from the meat and rub a good amount of butter and herbs between the two layers. This time I rubbed pesto and it was divine. The chicken was juicy, and bursting with flavour while the skin remained crispy! This is such a treat..you must try it for yourself!


Pesto Ingredients:
2 cups packed fresh THOROUGHLY washed basil
2 cloves garlic
2/3rd cup extra virgin olive oil plus extra for sauteing
1/2 cup freshly grated parmigiano reggiano cheese
juice of half a lemon
good pinch of salt to taste
freshly ground cracked black pepper

Method:
Throw the parm cheese, basil, lemon juice, salt and pepper, garlic and oil into a food processor and blitz to your desired pesto-like consistency. Reserve.

Roast Chicken Ingredients:
1 whole chicken
1 onion, peeled and halved
1 carrot, halved
1 celery, halved
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 lemon

Method:
Preheat oven to 450. 
In the meantime was the chicken, pat dry and rub the lemon on the skin and in the cavity. Sprinkle with salt and pepper (inside and outside the cavity). With the tip of your fingers, gently seperate the skin from the meat of the chicken and rub pesto as far back and into the thighs/wings as you can.


Place in a roasting pan and stuff with onion, carrot and celery. Tie the legs with butcher string and rub butter all over the exterior. Bake for 15 minutes then reduce to 350 until the bird reaches an internal temp of 160 (remove and it will carry over cook to 165).

The key to crispy skin is LEAVING IT ALONE! Don't baste... the fat excreted from the skin during the cooking process will baste it for you!

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