Jaddina China alla Rausana......My Version of Stuffed Hen Ragusa Style
My Christmas recipe for this year is my version of a classic dish they prepare in Ragusa for special occasions like San Giovanni, Christmas or New Year's Eve: Jaddina China, stuffed hen.
As always with Sicilian recipes, there are various versions and each family has a secret ingredient or process to make it.
You need a deboned hen, chicken or capon. You stuff it with a mixture of rice, mince meat, onion, parsley, grated ragusano cheese, chicken giblets, beaten egg, herbs and spices. Then cook it either in a deep pot cover in broth or sear it, add a couple of glasses red wine and, then, let it simmer adding 4-6 ladles of meat stock. With the remaining broth, you then prepare a soup.
I prepared a version using chicken drums. This gives you similar portions for all your guests, guarantees no fight over the best piece of meat ;), it is nice to plate and you can even cook it just for two people, without ending up eating the same food for a week in the attempt to finish it.
6 deboned chicken drums
250 gr mince meat (Optional: 100 gr mince chicken giblets and gr 150 mince meat)
200 gr boiled rice
100 gr grated ragusano cheese
50 gr bread crumbs
2 spoons chopped parsley
600 ml meat stock
1 glass red wine
You can ask a butcher to debone the chicken drums for you, I prefer to do it myself. You need to just remove the bone without opening the drums and keeping the shape. The pictures on the side should help you understand. Chop the shallots and sauté in olive oil, add the mince meat and when the meat is seared pour in the wine. When the alcohol has evaporated, add black pepper, nutmeg and a pinch of cinnamon, finally, a ladle of meat stock, lower the fire and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes. Check the seasoning and add salt if necessary.
Then prepare the stuffing mixing the rice cooked al dente ( I prefer to use a rice cooker), the mince meat, grated cheese, bread crumbs, chopped parsley and one beaten egg ( if it is still too dry add another egg). Now you are ready to stuff the chicken drums, tie the top with some cooking rope and close them with a couple of took picks.
Place them in a deep pan with olive oil to sear. Then season them, cover with meat stoke and let them simmer over a gentle fire for 20-30 minutes.
When they are ready, drizzle with top quality extra-virgin olive oil and serve them with carrot mash, sauté spinach or a radicchio salad to add colour to the plate.
The remaining broth is delicious, so do not through it away but use it to prepare a soup or even a risotto.