Monday, December 15, 2014

Roast Chicken with Ricotta Stuffing, Marsala Sauce, served on Crisp Toast

Roast Chicken with Ricotta Stuffing, Marsala Sauce, served on Crisp Toast
Serves: 4
Difficulty Level: Gourmet
Roast Chicken with Ricotta Stuffing, Marsala Sauce, served on Crisp Toast
I love a great roast chicken. There are so very many variations available today. This one is quite unique. Tosca, one of top 10 restaurants in 2014 featured in Bon Appetit, serves this dish to admiring fans. It’s been 53 years since Tosca sealed off its kitchen, became only a bar, before reopening as a restaurant under the guidance of famed British chef April Bloomfield. While it does take some work, well, more work than just shoving the chicken into the oven, the results are transcendent from the drippings-soaked sourdough toasts to the glossy pan sauce. Roasting the chicken is pretty easy. The lemon and pine nuts in the ricotta stuffing are savory and a wonderful part of the sandwich – bread soaked in chicken drippings, ricotta stuffing, roast chicken and then all draped in the wonderful Marsala sauce. Don’t wait to try this one!

This recipe begins with a 12-24 hour brine of the whole chicken. I always, always brine chicken – whole and parts – always… it is simple to do but does take a bit of planning. The length of the brine varies with size of the chicken. In this case, 12-24 hours for a whole chicken is perfect.  Simplest of brines is used – simply a sprinkling of kosher salt all over the bird and place, uncovered, in the refrigerator.

For Chicken & Stuffing:
1 3½ - 4 lb. chicken
Kosher Salt
8 fresh sage leaves
2 tsp flaky sea salt, (such as Maldon)
¼ C pine nuts
¾ C fresh whole-milk ricotta
1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
1 Tb fresh lemon juice
1 Tb olive oil
2 Tb unsalted butter, melted
4 1” thick slices rustic sourdough loaf

Marsala Sauce & Assembly
¾ C dry Marsala
½ C heavy cream
½ C low-sodium chicken broth
2 Tb unsalted butter
2 Tb fresh lemon juice, divided
Kosher Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
½ C spicy greens, such as arugula or watercress
1 Tb olive oil, plus more for drizzling

Chicken & Stuffing: Season chicken inside and out with kosher salt and then chill, uncovered, in the refrigerator 12-24 hours.
Brining the chicken
Before next step, let chicken stand at room temperature for one hour.

Preheat oven to 450-degree F. Pulse sage and sea salt in a food processor until finely ground. Add pine nuts and pulse until coarsely chopped. Transfer to a medium bowl and mix in ricotta, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Stuff chicken with ricotta mixture, then tie legs together with kitchen twine.
Beginning to make the stuffing
Adding the ricotta

Place chicken in a large ovenproof skillet or Dutch oven and rub all over with oil. Roast, basting every 10 minutes after the first 30 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of thigh, not touching the bone, registers 165 degrees, 45-55 minutes. Brush butter over chicken and roast 5 minutes longer. Let rest 5 minutes.
Chicken with stuffing in place
Roasted to a golden brown on top of the sourdough bread
Arrange bread slices in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet or a cutting board with a well.  Place chicken on top of bread and pour pan drippings over, (reserve skillet). Tent chicken with foil and let rest an additional 15-25 minutes, allowing bread to soak up juices.
Toasting the bread a crunchy delight!

Marsala Sauce and Assembly: Heat reserved skillet over medium heat, and then add marsala wine, scraping up browned bits from bottom of skillet. Bring wine to a boil, reduce heat, and whisk in cream, broth, and butter until incorporated. Simmer, whisking often, until sauce coats the back of a spoon, 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in 1 Tb lemon juice, and season sauce with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, heat a medium cast-iron or nonstick skillet over medium heat. Transfer soaked bread to pan and cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side. Set toasts aside.

Toss greens, 1 Tb oil, and remaining 1 Tb lemon juice in a medium bowl; season with salt and pepper.

Remove twine from chicken. Spoon stuffing onto reserved toasts and arrange all on serving platter. Cut chicken into quarters and place on top of bread. Pour sauce around; drizzle chicken with more oil and serve with greens.
Assembly for the table
This unique roast chicken with accompanying salad, bread and divine marsala sauce is a spectacular meal in itself. Try it for your next dinner party or as a special treat this weekend for your family.  Everyone will love it….really.


Modified from April Bloomfield’s recipe

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