Chicken Stuffed with Ceps & Spelt, by Gill Meller
1Clove of garlic
2-3Shallots, finely diced
1 bunchChives, finely chopped
1 small bunchThyme
Place the dried mushrooms in a bowl, cover with warm water and allow to soak for 25 to 30 minutes or until they a plump and soft.
Rinse the spelt then place it in a pan and cover with plenty of fresh water. Set the pan over the heat and bring to a simmer. Cook uncovered for about 25 minutes or until just tender.
Drain the spelt and place the pan back over the heat. Add a third of the butter to the pan and when it’s bubbling away add the diced shallot and the garlic. Soften the shallots in the butter for 4 – 6 minutes. Roughly chop the ceps and add these to the pan (save the soaking liquid) and cook for a further 5 minutes or so.
Spoon half the mushroom and shallot mixture out of the pan onto a board and allow to cool.
Add the cooked spelt to the remaining ceps and shallots in the pan along with half the chopped chives and half the thyme leaves. Season this mixture well with salt and pepper.
Once the mushroom and shallots have cooled fold the mix through the soft butter along with the remaining chives and thyme. Season the butter with salt and pepper. Try your best to gently ease the skin away from the breast meat and spoon in the butter, use your fingers to work the butter about as best you can.
Rub any remaining butter over the bird and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Place the chicken in a suitably sized baking dish. Spoon the spelt mixture into the birds cavity and any you can’t fit in spoon around the base of the bird. Pour over the mushroom soaking liquid then place the tray in the oven to roast. Cook the chicken for about 1 hour 20 minutes. Basting the birds and stirring and basting the spelt regularly so it doesn’t dry out on its surface. Let the chicken stand for at least 15 minutes before serving.