I normally like to do this recipe when the hazelnuts are at there best in late summer (August). In Celtic times this period or month is often called Hazel Moon, from August 5th to the 1st of September. If you have any hazel nut trees in your garden be sure to get your share before the squirrels do.
At the core of this recipe is a simple combination of roast chicken, bacon, mild mustards and hazelnuts. The difference in flavour when you roast a whole chicken as opposed to cooking a chicken breast is quite dramatic. The reason I'm posting this recipe now is a friend of mine who likes roast chicken and wanted some alternatives for his Sunday Lunch.
1 x 1.75kg (3 ½ lb) Chicken
500g (1lb 1oz) Cabbage or Spring Greens
4 rashers of Smoked Back Bacon
2 teaspoons Grain Mustard
1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
75ml (1/8 pint) Whipping cream
150ml (1/4 pint) Chicken stock
3-4 Carrots, peeled and sliced
50g (2oz) Melted Butter
1 Tbsp Olive oil
4 Ramekin dishes
50g whole hazelnuts
Preheat your oven to 195 C gas mark 5.
Remove any excess loose fat from the chicken then place it on top of the carrots in a roasting tray.
Rub the oil and half the butter mixture into the chicken, season with salt and pepper then cover the breast with the 4 rashers of bacon and roast on the top shelf.
Blanch 6 outside green cabbage leaves in boiling salted water for 1-2 minutes, then refresh in cold water.
Cut the large stork out of the green leaves then line the ramekins with cling film (leaving 1.5cm over hang.
Line the cling-filmed ramekins with the blanched green leaves leaving a 2cm overhang of cling wrap.
Slice enough of inner cabbage leaves to fill the four ramekins.
On a low heat in a non-stick pan sweat the cabbage together with the remaining butter until soft and season.
Begin basting the chicken after 30 minutes, removing and saving the bacon.
Carefully turn over the chicken so it is sitting on its breast (but still on top of the carrots and put back in the oven on the middle shelf.
Finely slice the bacon and mix with the sliced cooked cabbage and then fill the ramekins.
Seal the parcels first by folding closed the overlap of cabbage, and then seal the cabbage by closing up the overlap of cling film. Twist the cling film a little to prevent it from coming undone.
Cook the chicken for a further 1- 1 1/2 hours basting frequently until the juices run clear, then rest in a warm place.
Remove the now roasted carrots and reserve to serve with the meal.
Next pour off most of the fat and then add the chicken stock to the roasting pan and boil, scraping the bottom to release any sediment. Then add the French mustard stir well and strain into a small non-stick saucepan add the cream and then the grain mustard and simmer for 3-4 minutes then season with salt and pepper.
Whilst the sauce is simmering warm you hazelnuts in a turned off oven, making sure they don't brown just warm to bring out the delicate flavour. Steam the cabbage parcels for 5 minutes over boiling water to make sure they are hot all the way through.
Carefully unwrap the cabbage parcels and place on the centre of your plates.
Slice a piece of leg and breast and place on top of the parcel.
Drizzle a little sauce around the plate and sprinkle a few wam hazelnuts around the plate
Chef's tips for an Alternative
You could also try adding a little tarragon and diced tomato (without seeds) to the sauce, if you can't eat nuts.
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