Festive Roast Chicken and Stuffing from Louisiana Kitchen & Culture
Updated: Jan 4, 2020
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10-12 cups ½-inch bread cubes, plus 2 cups finely ground fresh bread crumbs (use a food processor) from a couple loaves of dense, crusty Italian or French bread
3 tablespoons Italian seasoning, divided
1 tablespoon plus ¾ teaspoon salt, divided
2½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, divided
2 teaspoons fennel seeds, minced
1½ teaspoons finely grated orange zest
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 4 pounds), trimmed, rinsed, and patted dry
4 large split bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts (about 4 pounds), protruding rib bones and excess fat trimmed, rinsed, patted dry, and halved crosswise
1 pound bulk Italian sausage or 1 pound links, casings removed
2 medium onions, chopped (about 2 cups)
3 medium celery stalks, chopped (about 1 cup)
1½ cups golden raisins or finely chopped dried Turkish apricots
½ cup minced fresh parsley
2 large eggs
1 quart chicken broth
Spread bread cubes in a single layer on a large baking sheet and spread bread crumbs on a separate baking sheet; let dry for several hours or overnight.
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position; heat oven to 400 degrees. Bake bread cubes until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. (Do not toast crumbs.) Remove from oven and reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.
Meanwhile, mix 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning, 1 tablespoon salt, 2 teaspoons pepper, fennel, orange zest, and oil in a small bowl. Smear mixture over both sides of each piece of chicken.
Heat a large heavy roasting pan over two burners on medium-high heat. When wisps of smoke start to rise from pan, add chicken in 2 batches (breasts skin side down). Cook until skin is well browned (3 to 4 minutes), turn, and cook until chicken breasts lose their raw color on remaining side and skin on thighs is well browned, another couple of minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
Add sausage to roasting pan and fry, stirring frequently to break it up, until it loses its raw color, about 5 minutes. Add onions and celery to pan and continue to cook until vegetables are soft, 7 to 8 minutes. In a large bowl, mix bread cubes, bread crumbs, sausage mixture, raisins or apricots, parsley, remaining 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Whisk eggs into broth in a medium howl and pour over stuffing ingredients. Toss to coat and let stand for t0 minutes so bread absorbs broth.
Turn stuffing into unwashed roasting pan. Top with chicken, skin side up, and bake until attractively brown and chicken is fully cooked, about 45 minutes. Remove from oxen and let stand for 10 minutes before serving.