2 small chickens, each about 2½ to 3 lbs (1.13 to 1.36 kg)
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
3 tbsp (45 mL) chopped sage
2 tbsp (30 mL) olive oil
10 cups (2.5 L) cubed rustic sourdough bread, cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) cubes
2 tbsp (30 mL) unsalted butter
1 lb (455 g) onions, peeled, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
¼ cup (60 mL) chopped inner celery leaves
¼ cup (60 mL) chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 tbsp Stuffing Mix
2 cups (500 mL) unsalted chicken stock
- For the chickens, remove backbones with poultry shears or have your butcher do it. Lay them out on a baking sheet, skin-side up. With the palm of your hand, flatten the breasts and tuck the wing tips underneath the breasts. Season generously with salt, pepper and sage. Place in an airtight container and refrigerate at least 1 day and up to 2 days.
- For the stuffing, if your bread is fresh, lay it out it on a baking sheet to dry out for 2 hours before transferring it to a large mixing bowl.
- Preheat oven to 425°F (220°F). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large frying pan, heat butter over medium heat. Add onion and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft and lightly golden, about 15 minutes. (The celery will still have some bite.) Stir in celery leaves and herbs. Cook 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Add vegetables to bowl with bread.
- Return pan to burner and add chicken stock. Raise heat to high. When it comes to a boil, season lightly with salt. Pour over bread and stir until combined and stock is absorbed. Transfer mixture to baking sheet and spread in even layer.
- 6. Wipe pan clean and place over medium-high heat. Add canola oil. Pat chickens dry with paper towel. Working with one at a time, cook chicken skin-side down until brown and crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Carefully flip and cook on other side just until it loses its raw colour, 1 minute more. Arrange chickens skin-side up over stuffing.
- Bake on middle rack until juices run clear, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from oven. Using tongs and a large spatula, carefully transfer chickens to a cooling rack set over a baking sheet. Transfer stuffing to serving dish, putting crispy bits on top. Cover stuffing loosely with foil. Let chickens rest for 20 minutes then carve into serving pieces and arrange on a serving platter.
Serves 6 to 8