Pesto- and Avocado-Stuffed Chicken

This post is well over due… oops! Last week, we had two small chickens (they were on sale at the store, packaged together, so we couldn’t resist even though they were not on our shopping list) and we needed to find someway to make use of them or else butcher them further to freeze the parts. Freezing a whole chicken is something I’ve never attempted, nor do I ever want to; and cutting it up to freeze it in pieces just seemed like so much work. :p

So, instead, we nixed a one or two other planned meals and made the chickens. Tuesday night, after dinner, I set to making homemade pesto for our first roast chicken. Brent or I (honestly, I don’t remember who’s idea it was) thought stuffing the chicken with pesto would be more interesting that the standard lemon and garlic roast chicken. In addition, to try adding texture and substance, we agreed we’d crisp up some of the shredded white sweet potato (seriously, we had a lot of this stuff–it’s gone into a ton of recipes lately!) and add that plus some avocado to the chicken cavity.


Ok, so here we go with official ingredients and process…

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 8 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 package of basil (about 3 to 4 cups)
  • 1 whole chicken (ours was about 2 and 1/2 pounds)
  • 1/2 an avocado
  • 1/4 cup of shredded white sweet potato
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil (or enough olive oil to brush over the entire chicken)
Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Blend the olive oil, pine nuts, garlic, basil and a pinch of salt in a food processor or blender. Ta da! You now have a very basic, homemade pesto. 🙂
3. Spread out the shredded white sweet potato on a baking sheet. Bake in the over for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until at least some are crispy.
Meanwhile, prepare the chicken: remove any gizzards and other internal business, rinse it under cold water, and pat dry with a paper towel. Place on the rack in your roasting pan.
4. Brush the entire chicken (top, bottom and sides, but not the inside) with olive oil.
5. Chop the half of avocado.
6. Gently mix the avocado, shredded sweet potato and pesto together in a medium bowl.
7. Using a big spoon, ladle or your hands to scoop the pesto mixture into the cavity of the chicken.
8. Sprinkle the chicken with a little salt and pepper–as much as you like. Also, tie the legs closed with cooking twine.
9. Roast in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes per pound, until a meat thermometer reads 175 degrees when inserted into the breast of the chicken.
We like to roast our chickens closer to 20 minutes per pound because you can always cook more if it comes out under done; you can’t undo overcooking.
Our chicken came out incredibly moist, and the skin was just a little crispy. If you like really crispy skin, crank up the heat at the beginning or the end for about 10 to 20 minutes.
When serving, make sure you scoop out some of the sweet and savory pesto mixture from inside the chicken. I’ll admit, I was a bit leery of the combination of avocado, sweet potato, and pesto; but it was really tasty! Some sweet, some salt, some savory, a little crisp from the skin and a good portion of creamy goodness from the stuffing over the slices of moist chicken breast… delicious!

Basil Salmon Scrambled Eggs

Last night’s dinner of basil salmon burgers was great, but we only made six patties because we knew we wanted to repurpose some of the salmon mixture. In order to enjoy this delicious recipe again next week, we froze most of the mixture but saved just a couple spoon-fulls in the fridge for breakfast this morning.


I cooked it over a medium high heat with a little bit of olive oil; and then I added four eggs, beaten, to the pan. I scrambled it together while it cooked and it smelled amazing! The sweet and salty salmon wafting up from the pan had me drooling in no time.

I packed half the resulting basil salmon scrambled eggs into a container for Brent to take to work, and put the other half in the fridge for me (since I’m working from home today). We drank our homemade carrot juice and off he went to work.


Then, around 11 a.m. I finally felt hungry and so I reheated my portion of the basil salmon scrambled eggs. It was heavenly! The eggs took on all the delicate flavors of the garlic, basil and salmon. The saltiness of the dish was just right, and reminded me of bacon-scrambled eggs (one of my favorites breakfast items). Next time, I think I’ll garnish them with some fresh basil.