If you’re tired of the same old turkey dinner for Christmas, why not try something a little different this year: roast chicken stuffed with plantain and rum flambé. This is the dish Jonah serves his friends at Christmas in chapter 7 in Addled. If you can’t get plantains, you can use ordinary bananas instead. Here’s how to make it:
Roast Chicken with plantain and rum flambé – serves 6
1.6kg (3.5lb) roasting chicken
30g (1oz) butter
2 ripe plantains (peeled & sliced)
2 plum tomatoes (quartered)
salt & pepper
2 tsp cayenne pepper
350ml (12fl oz) chicken stock
4 tbsp rum
For the stuffing:
50g (1.75oz) butter
half an onion (finely chopped)
2 spring onions (chopped)
2 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
3 slices of white bread (as breadcrumbs)
4 sprigs of thyme
zest & juice of 1 lime
2 tbsp rum
2 tsp soft light brown or demerara sugar
Make the stock first (or use some you prepared earlier) – or cheat with some shop bought stuff. This stock makes about 2.5 litres (or 4.5 pints):
750-900g (1lb 10oz-2lb) chicken bones & flesh
1 onion (halved, skin on)
2 sticks of celery (roughly chopped)
1 large carrot (large chunks)
8 black peppercorns
small handful of parsley
Stock: throw everything into a big saucepan, cover with lots of water and slowly bring to boil. Skim off the scum as it rises. Then simmer uncovered for 3 hours. Keep skimming and adding water as necessary. It should reduce to half it’s original quantity. Strain then cool (covered) in the fridge. Remove the fat from the surface before you use it. You can make the flavour stronger by boiling it some more to reduce it down.
Stuffing: melt the butter in a frying pan and cook the onion until soft. Add the spring onions and garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add a generous grating of nutmeg and the breadcrumbs and cook until golden. Add the thyme, lime, rum and sugar. Now gently push this mixture under the skin of the chicken.
Chicken & Plantain: preheat the oven to 190 C/375 F/gas mark 5. Melt half the butter in a frying pan and fry the plantain until cooked. Add the tomatoes and soften them slightly and season. You can stuff the chicken with this or make it while the bird is cooking, then roast the plantain alongside the chicken for the last half-hour of cooking time.
Smear the rest of the butter over the chicken and season with cayenne, salt & pepper. Put it in a roasting tin and cook for 1.5 hours (1 & 3 quarter hours if stuffed with plantain). Push a skewer into the thigh at the thickest point to check if the juices are running clear. If they are, it’s cooked. If not, give it another 5 minutes, then check again.
Flambé: Put the cooked chicken on a heated plate and cover with foil. Add the chicken stock to the juices in the cooking tin and scrape the brown bits from the bottom. Boil this until you have a liquid like gravy, then pour through a sieve into a warm gravy boat. If you didn’t stuff the chicken with the plantain, put the plantain around the bird on the plate (and remove the foil). Heat the rum in a frying pan and set it alight (carefully!). Pour over the chicken and serve with the gravy.
*recipe from Caribbean Food Made Easy by Levi Roots
Image: Cooking Flame