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Hay Baked Chicken

Introduction & method

Hay baked chicken is sealed in a casserole with dough. It's packed with hay around the chicken and the hay gives it a wonderful fresh springlike flavour. The chicken basically steams in the casserole, retaining all of its juices and making it wonderfully tender.

Hay Baked Chicken Recipe

Make Dough for the Seal

In a mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt and stir in just enough cold water to make the dough come together. Sprinkle some flour on the worktop and roll the dough out into a sausage that's long enough to encircle the base of the casserole. Carefully position the dough all around the edge.

Prep the Chicken

The chicken I used was 1.7 kilos (3.7 pounds). Spread butter over the top, sides, and thighs of the chicken. Generously season with salt and ground black pepper. Place it on a piece of muslin cloth and loosely wrap it - this is to stop hay sticking to the chicken.

Seal it up

You can get hay from pet shops - just make sure you don't buy anything that's been sprayed with insecticides. Place handfuls of hay in the the bottom and up the sides of the casserole. Place the chicken in the centre then put more hay on top to completely cover it. Put the lid on and press it down well so that the dough seal is compressed. Remove any hay that might be trapped in the seal and then work the dough a little to make sure there are no gaps.

Bake it

Heat your oven to 180°C (356°F) for a fan/convection oven, 200°C (392°F) conventional, gas 6. Put the casserole in and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. After this time, remove it from the oven and let it sit for 15 minutes, still sealed.

Finish it

After the resting time, smash the seal off and remove the chicken. The skin will be white and flabby, so get rid of it of you don't intend to eat it. If you do want to eat it, you'll want to brown the skin - you can do this under a grill (broiler) or with a blowtorch. Remove the chicken from the cloth and the hay while you do this, otherwise you might set fire to your kitchen.

The video above is from the Keef Cooks YouTube channel. Click here to see the video recipe of Hay Baked Chicken on YouTube.


Ingredients & Info

 250 grams plain flour
 1 tsp salt
 a few tablespoons of water
 1 whole chicken
 50 grams butter
 generous grind of salt and black pepper

US Customary/Imperial

Makes 1 chicken
Prep time: 15 minutes.
Resting time: 15 minutes.
Cooking time: 1 hour 15 minutes.
Total time: 1 hour 45 minutes.