Monday, May 2, 2011

You Say its your birthday...Happy birthday chicken

birthday candles

It was my birthday and lots of celebrating going on!

Yup, that is me in my birthday hat. It is a Lemur. It was a gift from my girl Running on Butter She knows about my Lemur addiction and about Larry.


So the wildly talented Keep Your Lid On is the crafty babe that made this hat. She is incredibly talented and she is also the one that will get me locked up ( and Butter too) because I am never going to take this hat off.

Dr. Food got me an outrageous camera but he gave that to me early. So he had a couple more surprises the day of my birthday.


Piggy towels!



A textbook from the CIA. Lots of Charcuterie in this one.


We were suppose to go out to dinner but I didn't want to. I wanted to stay home and cook dinner. I picked a recipe from Paula Wolferts book (waving at Paula my imaginary friend) The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen: Recipes for the Passionate Cook. It was Slow-Roasted Chicken with Sausage and Porcini Dressing.


This recipe was worth the work.


We had a few snacks while cooking. We got a late start because we were puttering around and going to farms and slaughter houses and stuff. No kidding. For a birthday treat we went to an Airfield for breakfast, a fancy schmancy farm that was too expensive and a slaughterhouse called (get this) Blood Farm. The family name is Blood. So other women want Botanical Gardens on their birthday. *I* want a good old fashion slaughterhouse.


Oh, and my birthday requires oysters. I love oysters more than anything. Well, not ANYTHING, but I love oysters more than most anything.


In the middle of it all my two pretend babies from next door came over in their birthday hats to give their Auntie Janis a beautiful plant and lots of hugs. I had to steal the hugs but that was ok.


This was the upside down chicken that went into the oven. Finally, all quieted down and dinner was done.


Fun day. Oh but at around 10:00 the plumbing all backed up and cabbage was coming out of the toilet. I am such a party girl. I pretended it was confetti.

Slow-Roasted Chicken with Sausage and Porcini Dressing
Paula Wolfert

1 whole organic, free-range chicken (about 4 pounds)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3/4 ounce dried porcini (1 cup)
Pinch of sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons rendered duck fat
1 small leek (white part only), finely chopped
1 small carrot, finely chopped
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
4 ounces fresh pork sausage, casing removed, and chopped
1/4 cup chopped dry sausage, such as Boar's Head Abruzzi-style pork sausage; or substitute 1/4 cup finely chopped prosciutto
9 large garlic cloves - 8 chopped, 1 minced
1 cup chicken broth
2 cups diced stale white peasant bread, crust removed
1/3 cup milk
Freshly grated nutmeg
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

1. Rinse the chicken thoroughly inside and out and pat dry. (Remove the neck and giblets and reserve for stock.) Starting at the neck, loosen the skin and with kitchen scissors, cut off about 1 1/2 inches of the backbone. Generously sprinkle the cavity with salt and pepper, cover with paper towels, and refrigerate.

2. Soak the dried porcini with a pinch of sugar in 2 cups warm water to soften, 2 to 3 hours. Drain the mushrooms, straining the liquid through a coffee filter or paper toweling. Rinse the mushrooms briefly and finely chop. Set aside the mushrooms and soaking liquid separately.

3. In a medium skillet, heat 2 teaspoons of the duck fat over medium-low heat. Add the leek, carrot, and onion; cover and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the porcini mushrooms, fresh and dry sausage, and chopped garlic. Raise the heat to medium and cook, stirring, until caramelized here and there, about 5 minutes. Add the reserved mushroom liquid; raise the heat to high and cook, stirring often, until the liquid is syrupy and glazed, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken broth and simmer until it is absorbed, about 5 minutes longer. Remove from the heat and let cool.

4. Toss the bread with the milk and let soften. Combine the bread paste with the mushroom-sausage mixture and blend well. Add nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste. Pack the stuffing into a 10-inch baking dish greased with duck fat. Cover with foil and refrigerate. (The dressing can be prepared up to 1 day in advance.)

5. About 3 hours before serving, remove the chicken and the dressing from the refrigerator and let stand for 45 minutes. Set an oven rack on the lowest rung and preheat the oven to 375°F.

6. Stir 1 cup water into the dressing. Rub the chicken with duck fat and season generously with salt and pepper. Carefully position the chicken on a vertical roaster with the legs facing up and set in the baking dish above the dressing. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven heat to 200°F. and roast for about 1 hour longer, until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 150° to 155°F.

7. Raise the oven temperature to 400°F and continue roasting until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 160°F, about 15 minutes longer.

8. Remove the chicken and dressing from the oven. Use oven mitts to carefully lift the chicken off the vertical roaster; cover with foil, and let rest for 20 minutes. Press down on the dressing to express excess fat and discard. Spread the dressing onto a heatproof serving dish and cover with foil.

9. Carve the chicken into 6 or 8 serving pieces. Arrange the chicken pieces over the dressing and return to the oven to reheat, uncovered, to finish cooking, crisping and browning the birds, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and the minced garlic and serve at once.

Printable Version


  1. That's one good-lookin' chicken! I love the lemur hat btw, I also have a love for those little creatures. Happy Birthday again!

  2. Sounds like a perfect birthday! And the chicken looks wonderful! Another fantastic use for duck fat.

  3. Ok, so the last line made me laugh so hard water came up in my nose and it hurt like a big dog. Many thanks for that. You kill me.

    Happy, happy birthday.

  4. Happy Friday the 13th!!!

    happy birthday you awesome lady you! miss ya!

  5. I loooove the lemur hat!!! looks like you had a great party. What sort of camera did you get? Alan just got a new camera a couple of months ago.All the food looks wonderful. Just like something out of Paulas' books.Happy birthday!!

  6. Hey Kath,
    I got a Canon Rebel 500 (I think that is the number). I love Paula. Oh, I love you too :--)

  7. I forgot to mention I didn't have duck fat so I used Chicken schmaltz.

  8. Cabbage coming out of the toilet? You sure know how to throw a party!

    Happy belated birthday! And congrats on the camera!

  9. Love seeing all the birthday stuff in one place. You have great friends! I took a Garde Manger class and that's what sparked my love of all things pork :)

  10. Janis, I love the fact that you chose to stay home and make dinner for your birthday rather than going out - I totally get it. And puttering around at slaughterhouses....well, I never thought I would say this to a friend, but that sounds like the perfect day for you - Haha. I am so happy that you love your hat so much. Stacey and I had a few "tee hee's" when you were talking about a Lemur hat on Twitter. It looks just fabulous on you darling! Your birthday sounded like such a great time and your neighbors are adorable :) ....You are just killing me over here...just read about the cabbage confetti - you must stop it. Love, Butter

  11. Hmm, 2 things I have never really thought about doing on my birthday: going to a slaughterhouse and cooking my own dinner. But I say whatever floats your boat, my dear! Happy birthday! : 0

  12. LOL.

    I think cooking my own dinner is a gift if I'm given several hours and a nice bottle of something to drink while I make it.

  13. Happy Birthday...Actually 4/29 was mine, so happy happy to us both. Enjoy your week!