Sunday, 9 December 2012

Catalan chicken (at "The Dalberg Arms")

This well-thumped recipe always puts a huge smile on my face: it takes me straight back to the early 90s and into our house in Brixton - or "The Dalberg Arms", as it was known - even then we loved to cook for friends, ply them with fine wine (supplied by "Maria's Fine Wines" just across the road) - oh and there were even "live acts": who could forget the dinner party where the host (NOT THE HOSTESS!!) disappeared for ages - only to stomp in again wearing my Burberry trenchcoat - and cardboard boxes for shoes - AND two wooden chopping boards for hands (he was chanelling "Edward Cheeseboardhands" apparently).

So, but for the recipe: it is absolutely sublime - looking at the ingredients you might think it can't be that special, but trust me: once encased in the chicken's cavity, it all comes together in the most aromatic, fluffy, wonderful "Spanish" way! (BTW: I clipped this from a "women's magazine" in 93 and I so well remember the first time I cooked it: it was a Sunday in March 94, it was freezing outside, and my (now) husband and two friends were at Wembley Stadium where Aston Villa had just beaten Manchester United in the Cup Final (3:1)!! Happy homecoming indeed!)

1 chicken (ca 1,5 kg)
75g raisins
4 tbsp dry sherry
3 medium onions, chopped
1 clove of garlic, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
50g pine nuts
150g chorizo, finely chopped
250g fresh breadcrumbs
1 tsp each dried thyme and rosemary
zest of 1 lemon

Preheat the oven to °200.
Mix together the raisins and sherry and leave to soak.
Sweat off the onions and garlic with the olive oil. Add the pinenuts, brown them a little, then add the raisins and sherry and cook until the liquid has evaporated.
Stir in the rest of the ingredients and seasoning, mix well then leave to cool.
Remove any excess fat from the chicken's cavity, then pack in the stuffing - it should all fit in. You can close the opening with a few cocktail sticks.
Cook  for ca 90 mins or until the juices run clear when a leg joint is pierced with a knife or skewer.

(Serves 4)

The stuffing also works very well with (cooked) rice instead of breadcrumbs.

You obviously have to cook the chicken longer with the stuffing, so please weigh it once stuffed and adjust your cooking times for that weight.


  1. Eat on lap, preferably wearing Muller sponsored Villa shirt, watching this:

  2. Sounds good - I am tempted to try that this weekend...

  3. Excellent - great roast cicken. Just finished eating the last of the stuffing. Particularly enjoyed the roasted bits of chorizo and the sultanas (we didn't have any raisins).