STUFFED CHICKEN LEG WITH CHICKEN LOLLIPOPS & SALSA VIZCAINA

STUFFED CHICKEN LEG WITH CHICKEN LOLLIPOPS & SALSA VIZCAINA

This dish is really two courses in one, with chicken 'lollipops' normally considered a starter or canapé, but they do add a bit of fun to what is essentially chicken, vegetables and a sauce.

Some of my favourite ever flavours and ingredient combinations are used in this recipe: chicken and red wine, chorizo and black olive, salty fried potatoes and my all-time favourite sauce, salsa vizcaina, all of which is heavily inspired by living in the Basque Country.

Stuffed chicken leg with chicken lollipops & salsa vizcaina

The most difficult aspect of this recipe is boning and preparing the chicken legs and chicken wings, which can take some practice.  It is important to buy whole chicken legs, with the drumstick and thigh intact.  However, both these cuts are really inexpensive so experimenting causes less stress on the wallet.

INGREDIENTS

Stuffed chicken leg

  • 1 Whole chicken leg
  • 50g Cooking chorizo, outer skin removed & chopped
  • 50g Black olives, chopped
  • 50ml Red wine, I used Rioja
  • 1tsp Salt
  • 1tbsp Olive oil
  • 50g Butter

Chicken lollipops

  • 2 Chicken wings
  • 100ml Red wine, I used Rioja
  • 1tsp Salt
  • 2 Sprigs rosemary
  • 1 Clove garlic, sliced
  • 100g Breadcrumbs
  • 1tsp Smoked paprika
  • 1 Whole egg, beaten
  • 50g Plain flour
  • 500ml Olive oil, for frying

Salsa vizcaina

  • 4 Dried choricero peppers, rehydrated in boiling water, seeds removed & chopped, reserving 100ml of the liquid (or use a mix of 2 ancho & 2 roasted piquillo peppers)
  • 1/2 White onion, chopped & sweated until soft
  • 1/2 Red onion, chopped & sweated until soft
  • 1 Clove garlic, chopped
  • 4 Ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 1tsp Sugar
  • 1tbsp Salt
  • 1tsp Pepper

Vegetables

  • Small cubes of raw beetroot, courgette & potato
  • 50ml Olive oil
  • To garnish, pea shoots

METHOD

  1. For the lollipops, take a chicken wing and make a cut around the tip of the wing to remove the meat from the bone.  French trim the thicker wing bone, removing the smaller bone from the wing.  Pull back the remaining meat, revealing almost all of the wing bone.  Generously season with salt and marinate in red wine, garlic and rosemary, for as long as you can, ideally overnight.
  2. To prepare the chicken, firstly remove the thigh bone from the chicken leg, cutting up and around the bone in the drumstick, creating a 'pocket' for the stuffing, whilst freeing the bone from all connections to the meat.  French trim the leg bone, pulling the bone up, leaving lots of space for the stuffing.  Remove chicken meat from the thigh, ensuring not to cut through to the chicken skin, which will act as a cover for the stuffing.
  3. Make the stuffing by chopping the removed chicken thigh meat, adding to chopped olives, chorizo and red wine, seasoning with salt.  Take the prepared chicken leg and stuff the drumstick with as much of the chicken, olive, chorizo and red wine mixture, adding a ball of the mix to the bottom of the leg.  Carefully fold over the chicken skin, covering the stuffing completely, ensuring the  leg can stand by itself.  Tightly wrap the stuffed leg in cling film, tying together around the bone with a piece of string.
  4. Steam the wrapped, stuffed chicken leg for 20-35 minutes, depending on the size of the leg and allow to cool completely.  Carefully remove the cling film and string from the chicken, reserving the juices that have been released (these will be great to add to pasta dishes, into risottos or to create a salad dressing).  Rewrap the chicken leg and move to the fridge until dry, ideally 4-6 hours, or overnight.  When ready to cook, remove the chicken from the fridge 30 minutes before the final frying stage.
  5. For the salsa vizcaina, add all the ingredients, apart from seasoning, to a saucepan, gently bringing to the boil before simmering for 20 minutes.  Remove from heat and season to taste.  Transfer to a blender and blend until smooth.  Reserve until serving.
  6. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees celsius.  Remove the  stuffed chicken leg from the cling film and heat the 1tbsp olive oil and 50g butter in a frying pan over medium-high. When the butter begins to foam and turn brown, add the chicken leg to the pan, tilting the pan toward you, with the chicken leg at the top of the pan, furthest away from you. With a spoon, baste the chicken leg with the brown butter, coating every side of the chicken leg.  This helps to create a great crispy, brown chicken skin, while heating through the chicken and stuffing inside.  After 5-10 minutes of basting the chicken, transfer to a baking tray and place in the preheated over to heat through for 15 minutes.
  7. Remove the lollipops from the marinade, dip in seasoned flour, then beaten egg and finally breadcrumbs, before frying in the olive oil at 180 degrees celsius.  Ensure that the oil only covers the breaded chicken, and does not fry the chicken bone.  Fry for 5-8 minutes, draining on kitchen paper.  Finish with a dusting of paprika.
  8. Gently fry the beetroot, courgette and potato cubes in olive oil separately, until cooked.  Fry the potatoes in hot oil first, followed by the courgette then the beetroot.  This means the beetroot red colour will not dye the other vegetables.  Season the potatoes generously with salt.
  9. Gently reheat the salsa vizcaina, and serve as pictured (or any other way), with a garnish of pea shoots.

ADDITIONAL INFO

I created this recipe after receiving a lovely hamper from Fragata, the Spanish retail brand famous for olives.  In this recipe I used Fragata black olives.  Fragata are currently running a Facebook competition for consumers, with the winner having the chance to cook with JosĂ© Pizarro!  To enter, visit their competition page by clicking here.

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