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Drunken Chicken


I came across this amusing recipe in an old South African cookbook and could not resist the name

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Drunken Chicken 1 Picture


  • a 4- to 5-pound (about 2 kg) roasting chicken
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 tablespoons (60 g/2 oz) butter
  • 1 cup (250 ml/8 fl oz) sweet white wine
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 cup (250 ml/8 fl oz) chicken stock
  • For the marinade
  • 2 cups (500 ml/16 fl oz) dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup (60 g/2 oz) brandy
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1 onion, grated
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 to 3 sprigs thyme
  • 2 to 3 sprigs marjoram or parsley
  • For the pilaf
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 cup (200 g/6 1/2 oz) pearl barley
  • 2 cups (500 ml/16 fl oz) chicken stock, more if needed
  • 1/4 cup (60 g/2 oz) slivered almonds
  • 1/4 cup (60 g/2 oz) pitted prunes, chopped
  • 1/4 cup (60 g/2 oz) dried apricots, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped marjoram or parsley



Step 1

1. Wipe the chicken inside and out with paper towels. Combine all the marinade ingredients in a large heavy-duty plastic bag set over a bowl. Add the chicken and seal the bag with as little air as possible, leaving it in the bowl. Marinate the chicken in the refrigerator for a day, turning it from time to time; the bag ensures that all of the chicken is kept moist with marinade.

2. To roast the chicken, heat the oven to 425°F (220°C/Gas 7). Take the chicken from the marinade, pat it dry with paper towels, and sprinkle it inside and out with salt and pepper. Discard the marinade. Truss the chicken, set it on its back in a roasting pan; cut the butter in slices and set them on the breast. Roast the chicken, basting often, until it sizzles and starts to brown, about 15 minutes. Turn the chicken onto one leg and continue roasting for another 15 minutes, basting often. Turn the bird onto the other leg and roast for 15 more minutes. And finally, turn it onto its back to finish cooking, allowing 50 minutes to 1 hour total cooking time. To test, lift the bird with a two-pronged fork and pour juice from the cavity; it should run clear, not pink.

3. Meanwhile cook the pearl barley: melt the butter in a heavy pan, add the onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, until it is soft but not brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the barley and sauté 2 to 3 minutes until the grains look transparent. Add the stock with salt and pepper, cover, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, and simmer until all the liquid is absorbed, 30 to 40 minutes. Taste, and if the barley is not tender, add more stock and continue simmering.

4. Toast the almonds: Spread them on a baking sheet and brown them in the oven with the chicken for 2 to 3 minutes, watching carefully that they don't burn. Let them cool. When the barley is cooked, sprinkle the prunes, apricots, and almonds on top and leave, covered, to keep warm. The barley pilaf can be stored in the refrigerator up to 2 days and reheated on top of the stove just before serving.

5. When the chicken is done, transfer it to a platter and cover it with foil to keep warm. Discard fat from the pan, leaving behind the cooking juices. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the sweet white wine and simmer for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring to dissolve the juices. Add the stock and simmer again until the gravy is slightly thickened and reduced by half. Strain it into a saucepan, reheat it, taste, and adjust the seasoning.

6. If necessary, reheat the barley pilaf. Add the marjoram or parsley; stir to mix all the ingredients and taste for seasoning. Discard trussing strings from the chicken and spoon the barley pilaf around it. Moisten it with a little gravy and serve the rest separately.

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