A lovely roast chicken with a moist and fluffy, perfectly seasoned stuffing. The bacon slices add just a hint of smoke, and the glaze, if you use it, a hint of sweet. A real winner!
1/2 cup apple cider
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 roasting chicken (4-6 pounds)
1 tablespoon kosher or sea salt
1/2 pound bulk sausage meat, such as sage, sweet Italian, or spicy Italian
1/4 cup minced onion
1/4 cup thinly sliced celery
2 cups fresh bread cubes
1/8 teaspoon dried sage
1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
1/8 teaspoon dried marjoram
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3 slices bacon
In a small pot over medium-high heat, simmer cider and brown sugar until reduced by half, 8-10 minutes. Set aside.
Remove chicken giblets, liver, and other organs from bird; wash and pat dry. Rub interior with lemon; then sprinkle neck and body cavity with salt.
Make the stuffing: In a large skillet over medium heat, cook sausage until done through, about 10 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain. Discard all but 2 tablespoons fat; then add onions and celery to pan and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Pour into a large bowl; add bread, herbs, and egg. Toss with your hands to mix well.
Preheat oven to 325°. Fill bird loosely with stuffing Skewer or sew openings shut and truss by folding wings back and under body and tying legs close to body for even roasting.
Place bird in a shallow roasting pan and arrange bacon slices over top of chicken. Roast 20-25 minutes per pound (2-2-1/2 hours), basting often with pan juices. During the last 30 minutes of cooking, remove bacon for even browning and set aside. Brush bird with cider glaze.
To test for doneness, wiggle the leg with your fingers—it should feel loose in its joint. Or prick the thigh joint with a fork: If the juices run clear, it's done.
Remove bird from oven, and let stand 10-15 minutes before carving. Crumble reserved bacon and sprinkle over stuffing.