This is a bit of a fusion Mediterranean dish with a whole, deboned chicken stuffed with a thyme bread crumb filling, layered on prosciutto and then covered with sunflower seeds and Parmesan cheese. It is served with some grilled tomatoes and aubergine covered in a thyme and honey yoghurt sauce.
This recipe has three components: 1) The chicken and the filling, 2) the sauce and 3) the accompanied vegetables.
The chicken and the filling
I got the original idea for the filling from this recipe, but I adapted it a bit.
- 1 whole deboned and butterflied chicken
- ½ red onion, finely chopped
- 3 fresh asparagus stalks, tough ends (± 1cm) removed
- ½ lemon, juiced
- 120g mushrooms, sliced
- 50g baby spinach, roughly chopped
- ½ tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 tsp fresh thyme, leaves only
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 100ml bread crumbs
- 15g sunflower seeds
- 60ml dry white wine
- 3-4 thin slices of prosciutto
- 100ml grated Parmesan (± 20g)
- 2 Tbsp butter
- Salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
Roast the sunflower seeds in a dry pan until they turn brown. Be careful not to burn them. Set aside.
Roast the bread crumbs slightly in a dry pan. Set aside.
Heat the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, pepper flakes and thyme and cook until the onions become translucent.
Then add the spinach and mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms have released most of its moisture.
Add the asparagus and cook for another minute.
Add the bread crumbs, lemon juice and wine and mix well. Adjust the taste with salt and pepper, let it cool down slightly and set aside.
Open the chicken with the skin side to the bottom and place the prosciutto evenly on the chicken.
Put the filling on top of the prosciutto and then cover with the sunflower seeds.
Lastly, sprinkle the Parmesan on top.
Roll the chicken into a tube and tie with butcher’s twine. Set it aside.
You will need the following for the sauce:
- 30ml butter
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- ½ lemon, cut into slices
- 2 allspice berries
- 10 fresh thyme sprigs
- 60ml dry white wine
- 30ml honey
- 100ml plain yoghurt
Melt the butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat.
Add the lemon, allspice, thyme and garlic and let it cook for about 5 minutes, turning the lemon slices once.
Remove the lemon slices and add the wine and honey. Turn down the heat and let it simmer on low for about 5 minutes. Strain the mixture and discard the solids.
Let the mixture cool down, pour into a small bowl and mix well with the yoghurt. Set it aside.
- 1 aubergine, cut into 3mm slices
- 150g cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- Olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
Season the aubergine slices lightly with the salt and pepper.
Heat up the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.
Fry the aubergine on both sides for about a minute a side. Remove and set aside.
In the same skillet, grill the tomatoes until they get a slight char. Remove and set aside.
Bringing it all together
I cooked the chicken in an air fryer, but if you want to cook it in an oven you will probably cook it at 200°C for 45 minutes.
Line the air fryer out with some tin foil and pre-heat it to 160°C.
Put the chicken in the air fryer and cook for 20 minutes. Do not cover the chicken with foil.
Increase the heat to 180°C and cook for another 6 minutes.
Remove the chicken from the air fryer and let it cool down for a little bit.
Cut the chicken in half and serve with the vegetables. Pour the juices left in the foil over the chicken and pour the yoghurt sauce over the vegetables.
We paired this with a 2020 Piekenierskloof Chardonnay. Here are the tasting notes for the 2021 vintage: