Bacon-and-Cornbread-Stuffed Spring Chicken with Meyer Lemon and Rosemary
Total Time: 75
Yield: 6 servings
Steve Corry cures his own bacon, but says good commercial bacon such as Niman Ranch or Nueske's is fine. He also wraps the chicken in caul fat (which can be purchased from a butcher) to hold the bird together, flavor it, and keep it moist. If you can't find caul fat, he suggests tying it with butcher's string and basting it several times as it cooks. He also prefers young spring chickens: "They have a very delicate flavor and a tenderness that's unrivaled." He buys his from a local farm in Maine.
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- 4 ounces bacon (about 5 pieces), diced small
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 Spanish onion, diced small
- 2 shallots, minced
- 1/2 cup hot chicken stock
- 1 bunch chives (about 20), finely chopped
- 2 cups cornbread, diced small
- Kosher or sea salt
- 3 spring chickens, 1-1-1/2 pounds each, divided
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 6 6-by-6-inch pieces of caul fat
- Rosemary—Meyer-Lemon Jus (see recipe below)
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, gently sauté bacon until well browned. With a slotted spoon, remove and reserve bacon. Discard all but one tablespoon of bacon fat. Add olive oil and butter and sauté onion and shallots until tender. Add chicken stock and chives and heat through. Fold in cornbread and reserved bacon. Season with salt and set aside to cool.
Heat oven to 425°. Split chickens in half along backbone. Leaving skin intact, remove rib cages, wings, and thigh bones; keep drum bones attached. Reserve removed bones for chicken stock.
Lay one half of the first chicken skin side down. Season the thigh cavity with salt and pepper. Stuff with cornbread mixture. Wrap breast around leg to create a tightly stuffed parcel. Place caul fat on top and tuck under. Repeat with remaining chicken halves.
Place chicken halves, bone up, in a roasting pan and cook in oven about 8 minutes. Lower temperature to 350° and cook about 15 minutes, or to an internal temperature of 160°. Remove from oven and let rest 3–5 minutes.
Place chicken halves on serving plates and drizzle Rosemary Meyer Lemon Jus over them.
- Leftover chicken wing, thigh, and rib bones
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
- 1 carrot, roughly chopped
- 2 ribs celery, roughly chopped
- 1 large Spanish onion, roughly chopped
- 2 shallots, roughly chopped
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 cup Meyer lemon juice (substitute equal parts lemon and mandarin orange juice), plus extra for seasoning
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 5 sprigs fresh rosemary
- Kosher or sea salt
Heat oven to 400°. In a small roasting pan or ovenproof skillet, toss chicken bones with about 1 tablespoon oil. Place in oven until golden brown, about 30 minutes. In a medium saucepan or stockpot, add remaining oil and sauté carrot, celery, onion, and shallots until onion is translucent. Add wine, lemon juice, and chicken bones. Lower heat to simmer and reduce until almost dry. Add chicken stock and reduce liquid by half. Strain through a cheesecloth-lined sieve and return to heat. Reduce liquid by half again and strain again. Return to low heat and add rosemary. Steep 1 minute. Remove rosemary and discard. Season to taste with salt and lemon juice.