A Glorious Cheat. Caminiti Butchery’s Whole Chicken with a Porcini Risotto Stuffing

I was out and about yesterday, crisscrossing Sydney attending to jobs on my burgeoning  to-do list. It was a productive and satisfying  but exhausting day. In my travels I passed by Great North Road in Five Dock, a little slice of  Italian heaven nestled in the suburbs. I have always adored Five Dock, it’s  home to three of my favourite haunts:

  1. Pasticceria Tamborrino  at number 75  for its ricotta and custard  filled cannoli and bigne
  2. Ranieri’s Continental Delicatessen at number 97 for its great wall of pasta, rustic wood-fired oven baked breads and awesome array of small goods and cheeses; and
  3. Caminiti Butchery a few blocks further up the street at number 185 for its involtini, polpette, bistecca fiorentina, and whole porcini risotto stuffed chickens.

When my children were younger and my days more leisurely we would often take a trip to Five Dock so I could satisfy my cravings for all those delicacies on offer in Great North Road. What can I say, the lure of a custard filled cannoli  is an excellent bribe. Today I was in a hurry and on a mission. One stop to pick up something for dinner at Caminiti and it had to be the porcini risotto stuffed chicken.

What is so amazing about this not so humble chook is that it is boned, stuffed and then put together to resemble a whole, unadulterated chicken; legs, breasts, thighs and wings. The first time I purchased one of these, many years ago, I hadn’t look closely enough and was oblivious to the fact that the chicken was boned until I roasted it, set it on a platter and started to carve. My dinner guests were so impressed!

I continue to be  impressed by this great find.  It has wow factor every single time I serve it.  I love its  simplicity; a one step, pop in the oven, set and forget meal.  My kind of cooking on a busy day.  All I have to do is take it home, turn on the oven, pour half a cup of chicken stock and half a glass of wine into the baking  pan with the chicken, and roast for one and a half hours at 180C. I like to serve it with nothing more than drizzled pan juices and a tossed green salad.

Here’s the transformation. Out of the vacuum sealed packet and ready for the oven.

Roasted. Golden and delicious. Moist and Succulent. Remember to save the pan juices.

For those of you lucky enough to live in close proximity to Five Dock, I highly recommend a visit to Great North Road. Stop in at Tamborrino for a coffee and cannoli, and perhaps pick up a take home box of assorted bigne. Wander up to Ranieri’s, admire the great wall of pasta and join in the banter at the deli counter.  Be warned,  you won’t need lunch after all the proffered tastings of cheese and small goods. That’s good, old-fashioned Italian hospitality for you. But no worries, you can work it off as you walk the two blocks or so to Caminiti Butcher to pick up the most glorious cheat – whole chicken with a porcini risotto stuffing. As I said to the butcher, so much better than a takeaway!

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