The epitome of comfort food, a whole roasted chicken is a family favourite. Ideal to prepare when one has the afternoon stretching ahead, this recipe calls for autumnal herbs such as sage whilst a stuffing made from pork and leeks infuses the bird with flavour from within.
A useful ingredient to stock the freezer with, organically reared farm chickens offer the best value for money, with the birds generally being larger than battery hens. Consumption with a conscience is imperative when wanting to eat well and supporting small scale producers who farm organically aid both the ethical and economic aspects of our local food industry. Not only offering a Saturday morning well-spent, the Porterville Farmer’s Market introduces produce grown and cultivated on surrounding farms. Held in a historic barn on the Houdconstant Farm in Porterville, the market keeps town residents and visitors alike stocked up on a selection of fresh fruits and vegetables, breads and bakes, meat, dairy and their famous double-yolk eggs.
Known as the veritable breadbasket of the Western Cape, Porterville falls into the Swartland district and has the abundance of produce to prove it. Predominantly famous for growing pomegranates, this picturesque little town also boasts wheat, fruit and cattle – with even the occasional vineyard getting a look-in. All this beautiful produce congregates each Saturday morning at the market, with suppliers ranging from farmers to pensioners to students and local charities all adding to the sense of community spirit.
Take along a shopping basket and buy up homemade pies, pickles, quiche made with those massive eggs and jams with names assured to incur nostalgia. Fresh chicken is provided by Gelukwaarts Pluimvee – a neighbouring farm that produces organic free-range chicken. Plump and juicy, their chicken makes for the perfect roast, especially when served alongside veggies from the market. And perhaps a slice of carrot cake for dessert.
Stuffed Chicken with Pork and Sage
Prep time: 30 mins /Cook time: 1 hour /Serves: 4
You will need:
- 1 large organic chicken (1kg)
- 25ml olive oil
- 4 sprigs sage, leaves finely chopped
- 400g pork sausages
- 100g breadcrumbs
- 1 egg
- 2 leeks or 1 small onion or shallot, finely diced
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
- Salt and pepper
- 250ml dry white wine
Preheat the oven to 220°C. Rinse the chicken and pat dry with kitchen towel. Place the chicken into a large roasting dish and set aside. In a mixing bowl, combine half of the sage, the breadcrumbs, egg, chopped leeks, lemon zest and 2 cloves of garlic. Squeeze the sausage mince out from its casing and mix in with the rest of the ingredients. Season the mixture with salt and pepper. Stuff the cavity and beneath the skin of the breast of the chicken with the pork mixture and use any extra stuffing to make small meatballs with. These will be tucked around the chicken to cook as it roasts.
In a mixing bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon juice and remaining garlic and sage and season to taste. Place the chicken in a roasting dish and spoon over the marinade, being careful to poke the garlic and sage into the pockets between breast and skin. Set the chicken breast-side up down in the dish and pour the wine around the bird. Cover the entire dish with foil and roast in a preheated 220°C oven for 20 minutes before removing the foil and turning the oven down to 180°C for the remaining 40 minutes. The wine in the bottom of the dish will thicken with the roasting juices and get syrupy – perfect for mopping up with fresh bread. If halfway through cooking the dish requires more liquid, simply add in more wine or a little water and continue to roast.
Serve the stuffed chicken with steamed buttery greens, crispy roasted potatoes and a sip of Swartland wine – The Fledge‘s Fumé Blanc comes highly recommended.
When not in lockdown, the market is held every Saturday – from 9am to 2pm – on Houdconstant Farm. Drive up Basson Street towards the mountain, past Porterville Hoerskool and take the first dirt road right at the Porterville Farmer’s Market sign. Be sure to draw some money beforehand as the market is cash-only and find them on Instagram to keep updated on reopening dates.