Most poultry stuffings don’t do much; at least the one’s that I’ve tried. They may season the inside of the breast a little, but not enough to justify the ingredients. I usually use a whole, quartered lemon as it seems to add the most flavor and juice. I was inspired to try again by a recipe in Basil
by Janet Hazen, Roast Cornish Game Hens Stuffed with Two Basils. What a difference using the zest instead of the whole fruit makes! The entire bird is perfumed from the cavity to the skin.
I’ve used lemon and orange in this recipe. I prefer the orange when sitting down to a leg of chicken but the lemon version was awesome in wraps with a creamy sauce. I usually leave the stuffing in the bird until I’m ready to debone it. Doing so intensifies the flavor as it continues to marinate the meat.
Citrus Basil Roast Chicken
1 whole chicken
Salt & Pepper
Juice and zest of one large lemon or a small orange
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chopped basil
1 shallot, minced
Preheat oven to 400°.
Combine the citrus juice and zest, garlic, basil, and shallot in a mortar and grind into a coarse paste, set aside.
Wash and dry the chicken and season the outside of the chicken with salt and pepper. Stuff the chicken with the citrus mix and tie up the legs. Pour any leftover mix and its juice over the chicken. Roast until done, about an hour.
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