It all started with Aaron Sanchez on “Best Thing I Ever Made for the Holidays”. Dude showed us how he makes Achiote Marinated Cornish Hens Stuffed with Chorizo and Mustard Greens.
(If you first question is WTF is achiote? Yeah, join the club. LOL.)
“Can you make that for Christmas Eve?” Brandon asked. I told him I thought so.
The day before Christmas Eve, I hit the stores and found many problems with Aaron’s recipe. I swear to god I thought he added cornbread to the stuffing on TV, but it wasn’t included in his recipe. That’s fine, I figured. I’ll throw that in anyway.
First, I couldn’t find that achiote paste anywhere. Secondly, I couldn’t find Spanish chorizo anywhere. And thirdly, the hens were about $10 a bird at Whole Foods…and frozen the evening before. I also had invited my friend David over last minute so three tiny little birds for $30 almost made me want to cry.
I got a whole organic chicken and called it a day on the meat. As for the rest of the recipe, in the back of my head, I knew I had seen several cornbread and Mexican chorizo stuffing recipes for Thanksgiving. And since it would have a southwestern flavors to the stuffing, I was sure I could figure out some kind of a southwestern rub instead of the achiote paste.
So, I pretty much just winged the rest of my shopping list and hoped I don't have to run back out on Christmas Eve for anything else.
When I got home, I searched the web for a recipe for a stuffed roasted chicken. Fortunately for me, I found everything I needed in Emeril’s Chorizo Stuffed Roasted Chicken.
So, I combined the two recipes with other techniques I thought might work and went to town. All the while, I prayed for a Christmas miracle.
Dear Jesus: Happy Birthday early. Please don't let me fail. Dear Buddha: Hi ya. Can I please access my good food karma bank right now? And, Dear Mom. Um. Help?I don't know if it was all the praying or my sudden installation of home cook confidence, but I’m happy to report that the result was delicious. However, I made way too much stuffing. But on the plus side, we had extra stuffing to nosh on and the leftover is hearty enough it can be eaten as a meal by itself.
Here goes the technically original recipe. Nothing was measured but I hope you can get a gist of it and adapt it for yourself.
Oakley's Hail Mary Cornbread and Chorizo Stuffed Roasted Chicken
- 1 box of cornbread mix
- ½ lb. Mexican pork chorizo, casing discarded
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 1 bunch mustard greens, cleaned, trimmed and roughly chopped
- About 2 cups of chicken stock. -- a few glugs to deglaze (say, ½ cup?) and a few more glugs to moisten the cornbread mixture to your liking.
- 2 tablespoons sliced green olives
- Butter to grease a casserole
- Salt & Pepper to taste
1. Make the cornbread according to package instruction. Set to cool. In a big mixing bowl, tear crumble cornbread in big chunks. Set aside.
2. Heat a large skillet. When the pan is hot, brown the chorizo for about 3 minutes.
3. Add the onion and garlic and saute for 2 minutes or until the onion is translucent.
4. Add the mustard greens and deglaze with a few glugs of chicken stock. Cook until greens have wilted, about 2 minutes. Turn off the heat. Add chopped olives.
5. Add the mixture to the bowl of cornbread. Add a few glugs of chicken stock to moisten. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
6. Stuff the chicken with the stuffing. Scrape leftover stuffing in a buttered ovenproof dish. Add the dish to the oven 10 minutes before the chicken is finished cooking. Bake for 10 minutes. Take out the chicken to rest before carving but leave the stuffing in there for another 10 minutes.
7. Serve extra stuffing with chicken.
- 1 fresh chicken (3-4 lbs.)
- 1 stick of unsalted butter, soften
- About 1 TBS fresh, chopped oregano, scant TBS of dried oregano
- About 2 tsp. of cumin
- Salt and pepper
2. Rinse the chicken and remove giblets and reserve for later use. Pat dry the chicken. Season inside and out liberally with salt and pepper.
3. Add the oregano and cumin to the butter. Mix well.
4. With your hands, split the butter mixture into 3 portions.
5. With the chicken cavity toward you, using your fingers, part the breast skin from the breast meat and try not to rip the skin. Grab a portion of butter and stuff it into the space you have made between the meat and the skin, massage it into the area. Repeat on the other side of the breast.
6. Rub the last portion of the butter all over the chicken breast, legs, and wings. Everywhere!
7. Stuff the cavity of the chicken with stuffing. Using butchers twine, tie the chicken to secure the cavity, legs and wings.
8. Place the chicken on a roasting tray or cast iron skillet and into the oven and roast for about 1 hour. Baste generously with the buttery pan juice.
9. Reduce the heat to 375 F and continue to cook for 1 hour or until the meat starts to fall of the bones and the juices run clear. At 50-minute mark, add the stuffing casserole in to the oven. (See Stuffing instruction #6.)
10. Remove the chicken from the oven and rest for 10 minutes. Take out the stuffing casserole.
11. Carve the chicken into serving portions. Serve the roasted chicken with the stuffing.
(Seen here with David's side salad: heart of romaine, pecans, gorgonzola and raspberry dressing.)