“An olive oil-rubbed turkey or chicken is our favorite thing to have at home,” says chef Theo Stephan. “Instead of bread, I like to stuff the bird with local organic produce from the farmer’s market: sliced garlic, spiced fruit and vegetables that permeate the bird throughout.” If you are making other poultry, simply multiply ingredients in ratio to the weight of your (turkey, duck, Cornish hen, etc.)
- 1 4.5-pound whole chicken; preferably range-fed, organic or “smart” chicken)
- 2 tablespoons fine sea salt
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (herby, robust style)
- 2 garlic cloves
- 5 sprigs herbs, such as rosemary, oregano and thyme freshly washed and dried
Pour sea salt, one tablespoon at a time, into your hand and rub inside of poultry cavity. Cut veggies into large chunks and toss with one tablespoon of the olive oil.
Lightly salt and generously pepper the veggies with freshly ground pink peppercorns. Place two garlic cloves into the bottom and then add vegetables to cavity. Fill the cavity thoroughly but do not press or pack. Place another garlic clove into the back end of poultry under the breast and, if there is room, place a veggie or two in there also.
Gently lift the skin away from the breast with your fingertips, palm down and use remaining oil to rub under the skin and even into the leg area as much as possible. The skin will loosely cover the poultry. Add sprigs of fresh herbs, inserting under the skin wherever possible.
Roast at 375°F for 75 minutes before checking with a meat thermometer. Cook to 165°F on chicken breast. Depending on veggies (potatoes, for example), cooking time may take up to 15 minutes longer. Chicken will still cook a bit after removing from oven, ideally reaching an internal temperature of 170°F on the breast meat. Remove stuffing immediately and let chicken sit for about 10 minutes, then portion and serve. Serves 4 to 6.
With No Bread Stuffing:
Be creative with what’s in season. Veggies possibilities include artichokes, potatoes, onions, peeled tomatoes, peppers, carrots, green beans. Vegetables such as asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower or zucchini will fall apart and be mushy. If you use these, remove them from the cavity and make a light “mash” with a splash of organic milk or cream, freshly ground pepper and a whisk of two tablespoons more olive oil. Serve mashed-potato style.
Zaca Mesa Viognier (Santa Barbara)