Basil-and-chevre-stuffed chicken


By Dr. Ronald Hoffman

This is a show-off dish that results in an extraordinarily plump bird. Forcing the basil-speckled cheese mixture under the skin takes a bit of patience, but it infuses the flesh with enormous flavor and keeps it ultra juicy. Use a good-quality fresh goat cheese such as one from France or a great domestic variety such as Coach Farms.

Serves 6

1 chicken (5 pounds)
2 large bunches fresh basil
6 ounces fresh goat cheese (chevre)

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Remove the giblets and liver from the chicken and discard or save them for another use. Remove any lobes of fat near the opening of the cavity. Wash the chicken inside and out and pat it dry with paper towels.
  3. Pick off 3 packed cups of basil leaves. In a food processor, combine the basil and goat cheese. Add a pinch of salt and a generous amount of coarsely ground black pepper. Process until the cheese is smooth. Being careful not to overprocess.
  4. Now insert the cheese under the chicken’s skin: Starting at the neck, slip your fingers under the breast skin, carefully separating the skin from the flesh. Moving your fingers left and right, continue downward and, with your index finger, separate the skin around the thighs. The chicken’s skin is flexible enough so that it won’t tear, even as you probe toward the thighs. With your fingers or a spoon, push the cheese mixture under the skin to cover the entire breast and thighs, using all of the mixture. You will have approximately a 1/4 inch layer of cheese under the skin. Press on the skin to evenly distribute the cheese.
  5. Truss the chicken. Sprinkle the chicken lightly with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place the chicken in a heavy shallow, roasting pan and roast for 1 1/2 hours, or until the temperature on an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thigh reaches 160 degrees F. Remove the chicken from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes before carving. Remove the skin before serving.

Recipe by Rozanne Gold and Helen Kimmel, M.S., R.D. Low Carb 1-2-3.



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