Lauraine Jacobs’ Roast Chicken with Bacon Stuffing

Food Editor, NZ Listener

I have wonderful memories of chicken, always served as a special treat for birthdays and Christmas when I was a child. My mother always took the time to make a fragrant savoury stuffing for her roast chicken. It was probably to help it go a little further but it also produced a wonderfully aromatic moist bird, and she was unfailingly generous with the bacon.

Mum lovingly prepared a dessert every night, and lemon delicious was my second favourite after pavlova. That combination of incredibly light sponge and creamy lemon curd is so refreshing. It’s perfect for any season, served hot or cold.

– Lauraine Jacobs

Image of Roast Chicken with Bacon Stuffing

Roast Chicken with Bacon Stuffing


For the stuffing:

  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 2 small red onions, finely chopped
  • 120g bacon, chopped
  • 1/2 small lemon, finely chopped (including the skin and flesh)
  • 3 tbsp finely chopped rosemary, parsley or tarragon, divided
  • 1 cup fresh sourdough breadcrumbs
  • 3 tsp salt, divided
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper

For the chicken:

  • 1 size 16 or 18 organic chicken
  • 4 tbsp olive oil or butter

For the gravy:

  • 2 tbsp white wine, chicken stock, or vegetable cooking water
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 2 cups chicken stock or vegetable cooking water

To serve:

  • Roast potatoes and green vegetables

Let’s Cook

Prepare the stuffing:

Preheat oven to 200°C.

Melt butter in a frying pan over a medium-low heat. Add onions and cook for 10-12 minutes until soft and starting to colour, stirring occasionally. Add bacon and cook until beginning to crisp, stirring often. Add lemon and 2 tablespoons of the herbs and cook, stirring often, for 1-2 minutes further. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in breadcrumbs, 2 teaspoons of the salt, and pepper, and set aside to cool.

Pat the chicken dry inside and out with paper towels and stuff the cavity with the cooled stuffing. Tie the legs together to prevent the stuffing falling out. Rub the skin with olive oil or butter, and spread with the remaining herbs and salt.

Roast the chicken:

Place the chicken breast side up in an ovenproof dish and roast for around 1 1/4 hours (a non-organic chicken will take less time), until the skin is beautifully brown and the juices run clear. Transfer the chicken to a platter to rest for 10 minutes.

Prepare the gravy:

While the chicken is resting pour the 2 tablespoons of wine, stock, or water into the hot chicken roasting dish and scrape any browned pieces from the bottom of the pot. Place the dish on a medium heat, or transfer the contents to a saucepan on a medium heat. Add the flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring continuously. Stir in the remaining stock or water in a thin stream and continue to stir until the gravy comes to the boil.

Carve the chicken into portions and serve with spoonfuls of the stuffing and the gravy poured over, with roast potatoes and green vegetables on the side.

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