2 litres water
200 g rock salt
1.6 kg free-range chicken
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
8 thick slices good-quality leg ham, diced
4 cloves garlic
½ white onion, finely diced
5 slices sourdough bread, grilled, rubbed with garlic, torn into bite-sized pieces
½ cup roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
4 thyme sprigs
80 g finely grated parmesan
100 ml white wine vinegar
200 g mascarpone
2 tbsp honey
Sea-salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper, to season
2 brown onions, thickly sliced
1 whole iceberg lettuce torn into cups to serve
- Pour water and salt into a 3 litre container and stir until salt dissolves. Submerge chicken and refrigerate for 5 hours. Drain and pat dry with paper towel.
- Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a large frying pan over a high heat. Add ham and cook for 2 minutes. Add garlic, white onion and 1 tbsp of the remaining oil, then cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes or until softened. Transfer to a large bowl.
- Preheat oven to 180ºC. Add bread, parsley, thyme, parmesan, vinegar, mascarpone and honey to cooked ham mixture. Combine well using your hands. Season chicken inside and out, then fill chicken cavity with stuffing mixture. Drizzle with remaining oil and season with pepper. Arrange brown onion in base of a large roasting pan and set chicken on top.
- Roast for 1¼ hours or until juices run clear when tested with a skewer in thickest part of chicken. Rest chicken for 10 minutes. Carve and serve with stuffing in lettuce cups.