Pollo a la Catalana

Stuffed chicken a la Catalana.

Serves 6

Takes 2 hours plus overnight soaking

Tip - if you don’t want to do it yourself you can get your butcher to debone your chicken for you.

60g prunes

60g dried apricots

250ml brandy

1 large free range chicken, deboned

250g beef mince

250g sausage meat

3 large carrots, peeled, quartered lengthwise and then cut into pieces

3 sticks celery, halved lengthwise and cut into pieces

2 onions, finely chopped

4 garlic cloves, halved

3 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil

200g pork lardo iberico, thinly sliced

350ml fresh chicken stock or bone broth

75ml PX sherry

1 tbsp cornflour mixed well with 2 tbsp cold water

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

  1. Put the prunes and apricots in a bowl. Heat 100ml of the brandy until steaming and pour over the dried fruit and leave to soak overnight if possible.
  2. Place the boned chicken on a board with its skin-side down and legs facing towards you. Season the meat with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  3. In a bowl, mix the beef and sausage meat together and season well. Drain the dried fruit (discard the brandy) and roughly chop them and mix into the mixture.
  4. Using a small spoon (or your fingers), fill the leg cavities with as much of the stuffing mixture as possible. Then, spread the remaining stuffing mixture over the breast meat.
  5. To roll the chicken, start from one long side of the breast, and tightly roll it in towards the middle. Repeat the process with the other side so that it slightly overlaps the other half.
  6. Using kitchen string, tie around the breast of the chicken to secure it, at 2 cm intervals, you can also add a final truss along the length of the breast. Tuck in any stuffing that has fallen out. Flip carefully over so the seam and knots of the string are underneath. It should look very similar to a normal chicken in shape. Season the outside of the chicken.
  7. Heat oven to 190 C / fan 170c.
  8. Toss the carrot, celery, onion and bay leaves in a large roasting tin with 1tbsp of the extra virgin olive oil. Sit the chicken on top of the vegetables and cover with thin slices of the lardo. Season once more then roast for 30-40 minutes, basting every 10-15 minutes until golden.
  9. Reduce the oven to 140 c fan 120 c.
  10. Add 500ml of water and 150 ml of brandy to the tray. Return to the oven for a further 50-60 minutes. Remove the chicken and allow it to rest in a warm place whilst you make the gravy.
  11. Strain the juices from the pan. Take 100gr of the cooked vegetables (including 1 of the garlic cloves) and place in a small pan (you can discard the rest of the vegetables). Mash the vegetables down with a fork and then add all the cooking juices from the chicken.
  12. Heat gently before adding the chicken stock and PX sherry. Season well and bring to the boil and reduce until you are happy with the flavour. If you like a thicker gravy, add the cornflour paste and bring back to simmering. Simmer until the gravy thickens.
  13. Use a hand blender and carefully blend the gravy and season to taste. Strain into a warm jug before serving with the chicken and seasonal veggies.