I suggest you source some free range chickens for this recipe. The difference between what you can buy at the big box stores versus what you get from your local farmer is out of this world. Tons of flavor you don’t get from factory raised chickens. We sourced ours from McFarland farms here in Monticello. This is part of their story:
“Our chickens are fed non-GMO corn (grown by us!) and poultry crumbles, as well as any bugs, clovers, and grass they get from being pasture-raised. Abby sings to our chickens every night and feeds them watermelon (their favorite), and Jakob makes sure they get their exercise, because happy chickens are tasty chickens!”
You can contact McFarland farms to get your own bird at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 217.778.1286.
Prep 1 1/4 hours
Ready In 1 3/4 hours
Yield 4–6 adult servings
Mushroom Stuffing –
1. Put the dried mushrooms in a bowl with warm water – let stand for thirty minutes and then rough chop these mushrooms. Combine these with the Baby Bella mushrooms you sliced earlier.
2. In a large sauté pan over high heat lightly coat the bottom of the pan with the oil. Add a handful of the mushroom or two (depending on your pan size/hand size) into the hot pan with a sprig of thyme and allow them to brown. Toss occasionally. Don’t overcrowd the pan because they will steam and not caramelize. Put this batch aside in a separate bowl and repeat until all the mushrooms are browned.
3. After the mushrooms have all been browned add a small amount oil to the same pan and add the shallots. Cook until lightly browned then add the garlic and butter. Once the butter is melted add back the browned mushrooms and toss to coat. Remove from pan and set aside to cool.
Chicken – Preheat oven to 425˚F
1.Debone your chickens (or have your butcher do this for you).
2.Place chicken meat skin side down and stuff the legs and thigh with the mushroom you’ve just sautéed. Pull back the tenderloin from the breast meat and open the area a little to stuff more mushroom mixture in there. Wrap the skin around the breast and the thigh to seal.
3. Liberally season both sides of the chicken with salt & pepper.
4. Now you need two heavy oven safe skillets, each large enough hold two of the chicken halves. Preheat the skillets on med – high and add small amount of oil to each one. Place the Stuffed chickens in the pan skin side down once the oil is hot and place the brick across both breasts. Cook stovetop until the skin is crispy, about 5-6 minutes.
5. Remove the bricks and set aside. Turn the chicken over. Place the pan(s) into the oven to finish cooking – 10-12 minutes. Check temperature of the thigh meat to reach a minimum 165 degrees. Don’t over-cook as they will become dry.*
6. Remove the chicken halves from the pan and place on top of buttered boiled potatoes to rest, at least 5 minutes. The juices from the chicken will release and fall into the potatoes. Delicious!
*During the resting time the temperature of the chicken will continue to rise by ten degrees or so. If you wait until the meat is at 175 degrees it will continue to rise and you’ll end up with a dry piece of chicken … exactly what we don’t want.