I went to a butchering class yesterday at the North Carolina Meat Conference taught by Butcher's Guild
founders Tia Harrison
and Marissa Guggiana, author of Primal Cuts
and came home with LOTS of pork and one completely deboned Poulet Rouge from North Carolina-based Joyce Foods
. I generally find chicken much more flavorful when cooked that on the bone, but this was a really fun process and meant that I got to come up with this recipe for stuffing!
Tia said that in her restaurant
they stuff the deboned chicken legs (with thigh attached), tie them with butcher's twine and sous vide them. I decided roasting them at a high heat would give them a nice crisp skin and would be a great alternative.
The stuffing was inspired by a few things. In Lolis Elie's
book Smokestack Lightning
he includes a recipe for sauerkraut stuffed smoked turkey from the late Ray Robinson of Memphis' Cozy Corner
. As a recipe including one of my favorite Farmer's Daughter products (sauerkraut) from my favorite barbecue restaurant in my favorite book about barbecue, let's just say it got my attention. I once riffed on the recipe and stuffed and roasted a whole duck and that turned out really well so I thought I'd keep going and try another variation. This time I made a more traditional bread stuffing that included sauerkraut instead of using pure sauerkraut.
I love stuffings including rye bread, and we happened to have some staling on the counter so that was in. Then I rummaged through the fridge and came out with bacon, apples, and some Chapel Hill Creamery Hickory Grove cheese.
I was very happy with how it turned out, particularly how well it held together and how easy it was to slice. I think it makes a lovely dinner for company or special occasion, particularly on a cool evening like this one.
As an alternative to deboning a whole chicken, you can just stuff chicken breasts or thick cut pork chops. Or you can use just whole chicken legs and debone them yourself after watching this video
of Chef Paul Prudhomme.
FD Sauerkraut, apple,
bacon & rye stuffing
2 pieces thick cut bacon cut into 1" pieces
1 tbsp butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
½ cup chopped apple
¼ cup chopped celery
1 cup drained sauerkraut
2 bay leaves
1 egg, beaten
1 cup stale rye bread torn into small pieces
In a frying pan over medium heat, fry bacon until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and place in a medium sized bowl. Add the butter to the bacon grease and melt over medium heat. Then add the onions and bay leaf and saute 2 minutes, then add the apples and celery and saute a minute more. Transfer the onions, apples, celery, and all the drippings into the bowl with your bacon. Remove the bay leaves and discard. Now mix in the sauerkraut, rye bread and the beaten egg. Season with salt and pepper and mix well.
Stuff into your chicken and cook
If you are cooking the stuffing on the side, you'll need to moisten it with about 1/2 cup of chicken stock, and cook it in a butter dish at 375 degrees F until golden brown on top.