Karen Martini's roasted rolled chicken with 'nduja, black garlic and sage, with a pickled grape salad

Chicken stuffed with 'nduja, black garlic and sage.
Chicken stuffed with 'nduja, black garlic and sage. Photo: William Meppem

This is such a fine Christmas dish, and the chicken can be prepared up to three days prior. It's equally delicious served hot – as a centrepiece with crisp roasted potatoes – or cooled to room temperature for a buffet-style lunch. It also works beautifully the next day – thinly sliced for a cold platter, or in a sandwich with crisp lettuce, peppery rocket or watercress and mayonnaise, with pickled onions on the side.


1.8–2kg organic chicken, deboned*

6 cloves fermented black garlic, sliced

60g butter

For the grape salad

1 bunch seedless green grapes, each sliced in thirds

1 tsp caster sugar

3 tbsp sherry vinegar

100ml extra-virgin olive oil

½ bunch flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked and torn

½ bunch dill, picked

For the stuffing

40g Iranian green sultanas**

50ml white wine vinegar

60g butter

4 garlic cloves, finely sliced

1 bunch sage, leaves finely chopped

150g Italian pork sausage, skin removed

100g 'nduja (or sobrassada)


1. For the stuffing, place the sultanas and vinegar in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Turn off the heat and stand for 10 minutes to plump up.

2. Melt 60g of butter in a medium frying pan over medium heat. Add the sliced garlic and fry for about 3 minutes until golden. Add the sage and fry for about 3 minutes until crisp. Tip into a bowl and set aside to cool.

3. Place the sausage meat and 'nduja in a medium bowl and paste together with the back of a spoon.

4. Lay the chicken out flat on a piece of baking paper, skin down, leg end towards you. Use a knife to remove the breasts, then move the drumstick meat to each side above the thigh meat. You will have meat running down both outer edges, with an empty space in the middle. Place the breasts in that space, with the thick end of each at opposite ends. They will sit together in a rough rectangle. Use your hands to flatten out the breasts. When we slice the cooked roll, each slice will have some breast and leg meat in it.

5. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, then spread the sausage mix as best you can evenly all over the exposed flesh. Sprinkle over the black garlic and the drained sultanas, then finally, scatter over the cooled sage and garlic mix. Fold any pieces of overhanging skin from the neck onto the meat, then work from right to left to roll the chicken up, carefully and tightly.

6. From the farthest end, wrap a piece of kitchen twine tightly around the roll, then secure with a knot. Repeat in about 1.5cm increments down the roll. Finish by securing once lengthwise.

7. When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 165C fan-forced (185C conventional). Melt the butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the rolled chicken, seam-side down, season with salt and pepper and brown for a few minutes. Rotate to brown all over, seasoning as you go. This will take about 15 minutes.

8. Place the seared chicken on a rack over a roasting tray and roast for 45–50 minutes or until the internal temperature is 65C. Rest for 20 minutes before slicing.

9. To make the salad, place the grapes and sugar in a bowl, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, then toss. Add the vinegar and let stand for 20 minutes. Add the oil, parsley and dill to the bowl and toss to combine.

10. Cut the rested chicken into 4cm slices and arrange on a platter, with the salad to the side.

*Ask your poultry supplier to debone the chicken, including the drumette, leaving the skin unpunctured, and to not trim any skin off or make it look neat, as you need it all to roll the bird up properly.

**Also known as Persian green raisins, available online.

Christmas menu: This recipe goes with Neil Perry's asparagus, capsicum and avocado salad and and Helen Goh's floating island with chilled brandy custard for dessert.