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Chicken with Cheese and Courgette Stuffing

A light cheese and courgette stuffing helps to keep this simple roast chicken moist during cooking and adds to its flavour. For the best-tasting chicken, use one that has been free-range or corn-fed. Serve it with potatoes, carrots and leeks, or cold with a salad.

Preparation time : 30 minutes,
Cooking time : 1 1/4 hours,
Oven : Preheat to 190°C (375°F, gas mark 5),
Calories per serving: 480

ingredients

serves 4
1 oven-ready chicken weighing about 3 1/2 lb (1.6 kg)
12 oz (350 g) courgettes
3 oz (75 g) fresh breadcrumbs
7 oz (200 g) low-fat soft cheese
1/2 oz (15 g) fresh chives
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon plain flour
1/4 pint (150 ml) chicken stock

method

1. Wipe the chicken inside and out with a piece of kitchen towel, and trim and discard any excess fat.

2. Thickly slice the courgettes and steam them for 5 minutes. Leave to cool, then chop finely.

3. Combine the courgettes, breadcrumbs, cheese and chives in a bowl, and season and spoon the stuffing into the body cavity. Pin the flap of neck skin under the bird with a skewer. Brush the bird with oil and place in a roasting tin in the oven.

4. After 30 minutes, cover the chicken skin with foil if it is getting too brown. Roast for 1 1/4 hours or until the juices are clear when a skewer is run through the thick part of the thigh. When cooked, leave the chicken to rest for 5 minutes.

5. Put the flour into a cup. Add 2 tablespoons of chicken juices and mix to a smooth paste. Stir the mixture into any juices left in the roasting tin. Slowly add the stock, stirring until the sauce thickens, and simmer for 2 - 3 minutes. Season the sauce.

6. Remove the stuffing and serve it separately in a small bowl.

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