Ricotta and herb stuffed chicken

Ricotta and herb stuffed chicken

Leiths How to Cook
Peter Cassidy


Quantity Ingredient
1 chicken, about 1.8 kg
170g ricotta cheese
1/2 egg, beaten
85g fresh white breadcrumbs
6 anchovy fillets in oil
few sprigs marjoram
few sprigs thyme
few sprigs basil
few sprigs rosemary
30g pitted black olives
50ml sunflower oil
freshly ground black pepper


  1. Bone the chicken completely, including the legs and wings.
  2. Heat the oven to 200°C.
  3. To make the stuffing, put the ricotta into a large bowl and beat to loosen it, then beat in the egg and breadcrumbs. Drain and chop the anchovies and roughly chop enough herb leaves to give you 1–1½ tablespoons. Halve the olives if they are large. Stir the anchovies, herbs and olives into the ricotta and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Place a rectangle of muslin, 25 x 35 cm, in a bowl and pour over boiling water. Once it is cool enough to handle, wring out all the water, put back into the drained bowl and pour over the oil, so that the muslin soaks it up.
  5. Lay the oiled muslin out on a board and sprinkle with salt. Lay the boned chicken skin side down on the muslin and, if necessary, rearrange the meat as evenly as possible over the skin. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Shape the stuffing into a thick sausage and place it widthways across the middle of the boned chicken. Carefully bring the chicken, supported by the muslin, around the stuffing, ensuring it is tightly rolled without too much of an overlap. Wrap in the muslin and secure the ends with string.
  7. Place the chicken breast side up, with the muslin join underneath, on a wire rack set over a roasting tin, and cook in the oven for 1–1½ hours, or until a skewer pushed into the centre of the stuffing and left for 10 seconds feels very hot when held briefly against your inner wrist.
  8. Remove the chicken from the oven and unwrap the muslin (do this straight away or it will stick). If serving hot, cut the chicken into slices and serve. If serving cold, leave it to cool completely before slicing. It is delicious served either way, but it is easier to cut tidy slices once it has cooled.


  • Sun-blushed tomato and caper stuffed chicken: Replace the anchovies with 75 g sun-blushed or sun-dried tomatoes, cut into slivers, and replace the olives with 2 tablespoons drained baby capers. Use basil sprigs in place of the mixed herbs.

    Feta and lemon stuffed chicken: Reduce the ricotta to 100 g and add 60 g crumbled feta. Omit the anchovies and use green rather than black olives. Use 1 tablespoon chopped parsley in place of the mixed herbs and add the finely grated zest of 1 lemon.
Leiths School of food and wine
cookery course
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