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New Nigerian Christmas Chicken #1: Stuffed Chicken Legs & Breasts

by on December 20, 2016
 

Chicken is essential to the Nigerian Christmas lunch or dinner. This year, venture further than your fried or grilled chicken with these ideas – three of them:

  • Stuffed chicken is my personal favourite. I have two options for you with chicken legs and breasts. The chicken legs are off the chain! Oh, my word. This will become my go to.
  • Whole, roast chicken. So easy to cook – season with a dry rub and roast on the highest your oven will go to for xxx, depending on the size of the bird
  • Chicken skewers. Perfect and colourful, easy to make and all round delicious.

I’m looking forward to sharing these recipes with you! 

First up, Stuffed Chicken with Acha Jollof

So you remember my Acha Jollof? One of my favourite ways to enjoy it is as stuffing in chicken. It is perfect. The grains absorb the meat’s juices and take on another dimension. Love, love, love.

I’m not yet an expert at boning and rolling and stuffing – for the legs but we try.

Here’s a great video to help with the technique called ‘Frenching’ and Deboning. I use the leftover bones to make chicken stock.

Make ahead tips

For food safety reasons, don’t stuff your raw chicken and leave it to rest ahead of cooking. You can prepare elements.

Prepare the stuffing – I use already cooked Acha Jollof

Bone the legs – save bones for stuff; Prep the breasts

Cut up your string – about 15 – 20 centimetres

Option 1 – Stuffed Chicken Legs & Thighs 

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Debone chicken leg & thigh – save bones for stock.

Season lightly on the inside and out – I use yaji and a pinch of salt.

My baker’s twine is ready, cut into sections.

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With the skin-side down, put the Acha Jollof in the centre. Then I try to seal each leg by trussing, tying securely to keep the stuffing in. Once I’m done, I brown in a lightly greased pan on medium heat till all sides take on some colour.

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Next steps? I place them on lightly greased foil and bung in the oven, about 20 minutes at 180 degrees C.

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Once cokked through, I remove from the oven and allow it rest for 5 – 6 minutes. 

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You can serve it whole – I like that because there’s the element of surprise. Or you can slice it. Please do it better than me :). I didn’t slice very well 🙁 but this is no way affects the deliciousness – I guess I need to use a better knife.

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This is SO delicious. The meat stays tender and juicy. The stuffing is a wonderful counterpoint. Serve with a green salad or steam veg and you’re good to go.

 

Option 2 – Stuffed Chicken Breasts

I usually buy the ‘crown’, the breasts joined (and deboned – you can save the bones for stock if you have to debone yourself)

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I cut it in half to separate the breasts

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I take each breast, and cut a pocket down the centre being careful to leave some part at the top and bottom not cut – this will hold the stuffing in. I cut down but not to the bottom of the breast – or the stuffing will ‘leak’. I also cut into the centre of the breast chicken on the left and right sides to make more room for stuffing.

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And then I fill with spoonfulls of Acha Jollof, pressing in and filling the sides.

Ideas for the stuffing: You could also use a stuffing mix of seasoned garri or bread crumbs, suya bits or dambu nama bread crumbs, fresh herbs and steamed vegetable chunks

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This goes on a lightly greased foiled, baking tray and into the oven at 180 C for 15 – 20 minutes depending on the size of the breast.

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I have thought of wrapping the breasts with bacon to lock the juices in but I didn’t have any and I wanted colour on the chicken.
Anyway, it was delicious! Not very dry, beautifully spiced, perfect with zome zobo pepper sauce and rice.

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You can serve whole or sliced.

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So there, a few options for Christmas chicken. What do you think?