This Christmas was really different than any other year for me. Each year, I normally spend Christmas day in Chilliwack at my grandparents house. My cousins and aunts and uncles all join us and we have a nice family gathering. My grandmother passed a few years back and my grandfather just this October. My mum still lives in their old house and still tries to keep traditions the same. This year though, it was just her by herself. I decided to go up with Jenny and we cooked a lovely Christmas feast together.
My mum did her usual holiday dishes, including mash, roasted squash, stove top stuffing, roasted beets and carrots, and to finish off, a traditional British Christmas pudding. My only dish for this was a roasted chicken. I chose a very unique type of chicken recipe, right from Gordon Ramsay’s Ultimate Cookery Course. I made a Spanish Chorizo stuffed chicken. I did this with a free range chicken that I got from Jackson’s Poultry in Graville Island the day before. I also got the chorizo from Les Amis Du Fromage on West 2nd and Burrard in Vancouver, which is a small cheese shop that is by far the most famous in all of the city. They regularly stock between 400-500 cheeses from around the world, at least 1/3 of those originating from BC or Quebec. They also have a wide selection of cured meats and other specialized foods.
- 1 chicken (preferably free range)
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 chorizo sausage (250g total)
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 cans cannellini beans (400g total)
- 1 large white onion
- 1/2 cup semi- dried tomatoes chopped
- salt , pepper to taste
- 1 lemon
- 400 ml white wine
- 400 ml water
- 2 tsp paprika
- 5-6 springs of fresh thyme
Preheat your oven to 200 degrees C.
Start by peeling the casing off the sausage then slice into small 2cm cubes. Then place in the pan with some olive oil.
Add the chorizo to a pan over medium to high heat, put a little olive oil in to get them started sooner.
Cook for about 3 min then add in your diced onions.
After about 4-5 min, when the onions are soft, add in the minced garlic and thyme leaves.
When the onions and chorizo are soft and aromatic, add in the cannellini beans and stir for another 3 min.
Take of the heat and set aside. Next we will prepare the chicken.
Rinse of the skin and the inside of the bird. Pat dry with a paper towel to soak up any excess water.
I took some room temp butter, mixed with some paprika and thyme leaves, and pushed under the skin of the breast to give another level of golden crispy skin (This is optional). First you must season the inside of the cavity with salt and pepper. Then pack the stuffing into the cavity. Pack it tight so there won’t be too much air getting in or out. That way the bird will cook nicely inside too and the stuffing will permeate the inside as well. When the chicken is just about full, place a whole lemon right at the end to plug the cavity, then fold in any excess skin or trimmings. Drizzle olive oil over the skin then season with salt, pepper and paprika. Rub the mixture into the skin and really coat it well.
Place the chicken in a large roasting pan (mine was too small), then add in the wine and water. Place thyme sprigs all around the edges then cover tightly in tin foil.
Cook for 1 hour then take off the foil, baste and cook uncovered for an additional 30 min at 230 degrees.
Once done, the skin should be crispy and golden. Remove from the roasting tray and take out the lemon and stuffing.
Squeeze the lemon back into the roasting tray and sieve out the roasting juices into a small pot.
I made a really simple gravy for this by skimming the oil off the top of the roasting juice, then adding 1 packet of brown gravy to the juices. I then lightened it up with some cream and some brown sugar to cut the acidity from the lemon. I was left with a really rich aromatic gravy that had lots of depth with the flavours of the chicken, the lemon, and a rich white wine. Allow the chicken to rest for at least 15 min before serving.
Excuse the small chunck of chicken missing. Some people got too hungry! I also helped put together a really simple mash potato that I really like. We just peeled and boiled the potatoes, then I added salt & pepper, butter, and a good few tablespoons of sour cream. After a good mash, these become smooth and full of great flavour.
Dinner was fantastic as it always is each year, even with a few people short this year. I was really happy with how the chicken turned out. It was a really nice variation from the standard roast chicken that we usually have. It was crispy and full of rich and spicy spanish flavours on the outside, but soft and moist on the inside of the chicken. Then stuffing was also very delicious to just eat on it’s own. My second favourite dish though is probably my mum’s butter roasted squash. You just can’t find something that good anywhere else!
The last thing we had after a very filling meal was a tradition Christmas pudding. This was bought from a British importing store in town. We had trouble lighting it up to begin with, but once we got it, we were on a roll. The trick was to heat up the ladle from where we were pouring the liquor first before lighting it on fire. Here’s a short video of us lighting it!
Overall had a perfect Christmas, spent time with the people in my life that matter most. Next dinner party will be New Years! Stay tuned!