I think that the ‘galletto vallespluga’ is the closest thing there is to a cornish game hen here in Italy. I am talking about mini chicken that are always a delight to roast. One of these mini chickens is plenty for two people, and will stretch to three if carved by an expert hand. This is my recipe for a wintry galletto stuffed with rice … Start by preheating the oven at 220°C.
I weighed 5 spoons of rice and that came to 70g … to which I added a handful of chopped guanciale … You can use any kind of rice and if you don’t have pancetta or guanciale, a little bit of bacon will do.
I proceeded to stuff the galletto. The galletto is ready to cook but before roasting it in the oven … I have a little ‘trick’ that I picked up many years ago which consists in steaming chicken, duck or other fowl before finishing them off in a hot oven.
First, the steamer cooks the flesh so that it stays succulent and tender and second, the roasting in the oven confers a crispy, crackely consistency to the skin of the bird. Nothing fouler, if you’ll pardon the pun, than the dry rubbery flesh of a chicken that has been overcooked. This way we get the best of both worlds.
Here is the galletto looking very pale after a steam … I cut an orange into slices for the galletto to lie on, breast side up … Please notice how ‘glossy’ the skin is … that is the effect of the steam. I drizzled only a tiny amount of olive oil on the bird!
After cooking the galletto after 40 minutes, I turned it over and cooked it for a further 10 minutes. Here it is just out of the oven – total cooking time in the oven 40 minutes. The scent of the cooked orange was quite something!
And now for the onions. Since I had the oven on, I thought I would take advantage and bake some onions to accompany the galletto.