From America's Test Kitchen Season 7: Sunday Roast Chicken and Stuffing
Stuffed roast chicken can be a conundrum—it’s either a perfectly cooked bird filled with lukewarm stuffing (risking salmonella) or safe-to-eat stuffing packed in parched poultry. And given the small cavity of a roasting chicken, there’s often no more than a few tablespoons of stuffing per person. We wanted our stuffed roast chicken to produce both flavorful white and dark chicken meat along with an ample amount of intensely flavored stuffing. And we wanted to solve the problem of cooking the stuffing to a safe temperature without drying out the delicate breast meat of the chicken.
We ensured moist, savory meat by brining the bird before we stuffed and roasted it. While the chicken was brining, we jazzed up the stuffing mix by replacing the customary onion with a thinly sliced leek, adding it along with celery, mushrooms, minced garlic, fresh sage, thyme, and parsley, and chicken broth. Our most creative solution, however, was to make an aluminum foil bowl, mound the stuffing into it, and place the chicken—after butterflying it—on top. This improvised cooking vessel allowed the stuffing to become moist and flavorful throughout from the chicken juices, while also becoming brown and chewy on the bottom. And cleanup was a snap.
Use a traditional (not nonstick) roasting pan to prepare this recipe; the dark finish of a nonstick pan may cause the stuffing to overbrown. If using a kosher chicken, skip step 1.