February 1, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — ros @ 4:50 pm

For a while there’s been this idea in the back of my mind about a nice, unusual way of ‘barding’ a chicken. I’m sure it is not entirely my own. It probably found its way into my subconscious from a cook book or a TV programme, but I have not idea which one.

The idea is to stuff the skin of the bird. This in itself is not at all unusual, many recipes call for putting butter and seasonings under the skin of a chicken before roasting it. But I decided I wanted to stuff the skin with chorizo. In particular Brindisa’s chorizo picante. I love that stuff! :D My hope was that, as the chorizo cooked, the oils would leak out and baste the chicken, keeping it moist.

So, during the last Borough market trip, I got my chorizo and also decided to pick up a guinea fowl instead of a chicken. I much prefer these birds. Their taste is so rich. They are what I wish chickens would taste like. I sliced my chorizo thinly, loosened the skin on the bird and carefully pushed the chorizo over the breast meat. Then I did the same with the thighs, although I wasn’t quite careful enough and slightly tore the skin on one of them. Fortunately it was a minor tear and it didn’t to cause any problems.

Before roasting it I brushed the skin of the bird with a mixture of olive oil, cayenne and paprika and stuffed it with onion and crushed garlic.

uncooked guinea fowl

The chorizo made the guinea fowl look disturbingly knobbly. You can’t see it in the photo but it was one bumpy fowl! 

Roasting like this had a very interesting effect. In fact, I was mildly alarmed when I took it out of the oven.

roasted fowl

I’ve never cooked a guinea fowl that looked like that before. The skin was crispy, and wrinkly, which was probably a good thing, but I was worried that somehow the chorizo had been counter productive and dried everything out.

Luckily this wasn’t the case. The guinea fowl was delicious! The meat was gorgeous and moist. The oils from the chorizo had been absorbed by bits of the meat, giving them an even richer flavour that normal.

The skin was out of this world! Imagine biting through perfectly crispy spiced chicken skin into thick chunks of meaty, spicy chorizo. It was heaven! I’m going to make this again!

I decided the rest of the meal could also have a Spanish theme so I grilled some peppers and courgette with olive oil and garlic and also and made a kind of veggie-paella thing.

paella in pan

Well, I say veggie but in the end I threw in the unused half link of chorizo that was left.

the whole meal

So there it is all together, you can kind of see the bits of breast meat that had absorbed chorizo oil. They’re stained red. I tried to get a proper close up shot of the stuffed skin but this happened.

 chorizo stuffed skin

I think I mast have got my greasy finger onto the lens at some point. :( Anyway, I think its just clear enough to see what is going on. The skin was properly packed with chorizo, which was great because I just can’t get enough of the stuff!

Now I’m wondering what exactly caused the skin to crisp up like that. The 15 minute blast on gas mark 7 just after I began roasting it would have helped but I’d never managed to get crispy skin that way before. Ideas anyone?


  1. Hi Ros! Firstly you are a girl after my own heart! I love chorizo and guinea fowl. This was a truly inspired dish! I think what makes the skin go crisp on chickens or in this case, the guinea fowl, is that you are lifting it up and away from the meat, particularly when you stuff, er, stuffing under the skin. I always pinch the skin on a chicken, Fannie Craddock style, when I roast it because it always seems to crisp that much better. The intense initial burst of heat helps too.
    I have put mushrooms and truffle paste under the skin before and that worked really well, the meat was moist and pale but had that delicate flavour. I will definitely try chorizo!

    Comment by Freya Erickson — February 1, 2007 @ 8:05 pm

  2. I knew you were a woman with taste! :) The mushrooms and truffle paste sounds lovely… might try that with a poussin next time I get one.

    Comment by ros — February 2, 2007 @ 4:39 pm

  3. A great idea that I will definitely try myself. You are a very adventurous cook. Don’t give in and conform - keep trying new ideas and you will be rewarded. The world is so full of boring, conformist chefs.

    Comment by Trig — February 3, 2007 @ 7:22 pm

  4. My brother Joel just told me this afternoon that he cooked chicken with chorizo exactly like this just last week and the meat was moist and full of flavour. So it’s clearly the start of what will become a classic approach one day!

    Comment by Trig — February 4, 2007 @ 6:17 pm

  5. Boring conformist chefs exist for boring conformist people. There are PLENTY of them about. Be glad they’re kept out of your way at boring conformist restaurants!

    Interesting that your brother and I both thought of this at a similar time. I hope it does become a classic- it was really good!

    Comment by ros — February 5, 2007 @ 4:48 pm

  6. I can almost smell it from here… yummy ! Talking about spanish food, if you get the chance to get yourself a spanish iberian ham next time, and a nice ribera del duero wine, your spanish meal will be complete!

    Comment by Jose Sanchez — February 28, 2007 @ 4:33 pm

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