Stuffing -Please Tweak this !

Joined Aug 25, 2009
I would first like to let you know that I am working on a “stuffing”, not for a turkey but for a grain fed Chicken (large one), although the stuffing is for a turkey.

It is called : Tacchino Natalizio ( found in a Italian Cookbook ....Cooking All'Italiana by Savina Roggero) latest project. I realize this is an older cookbook, gift from my mother , but the recipes are just incredible.

I thought I would share this little gem....maybe some of you may not like this style, but if any of you have an opinion or an idea regarding the recipe, please let me know. I am open to “tweaking it”.

Before I continue, I have a few questions I need answered:

1- Caul fat to wrap the chicken . What can I use instead of caul fat ?
2- ½ cup of champagne. Substitute ?
Should I use other ingredients or spices ?

Ten pound chicken, cleaned and boned; ½ pound of boned chicken breasts (put twice through the meat grinder) ; ½ cup of Marsala wine; ½ cup of champagne; 2 eggs; ½ pound of cooked ham, finely chopped; 4 heaping tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese; 2 slices of bread, crusts removed, soaked in milk, squeezed almost dry; ¼ pound of prosciutto, diced; ¼ pound of mortadella sausage, diced; 3 ounces of pickled tongue; cut into strips the size of matchsticks; a few candied cherries, finely diced; 2 Tablespoons of foie gras; 2 eggs; 3 small black truffles,sliced; 4 tablespoons of 35% cream; 1 Tbsp of pistachio nuts; caul fat , large enough to wrap chicken; 2 tbsp oil; 6 tbsp of butter; salt and freshly ground black pepper; ½ cup of dry white wine; 2 ½ tbsp of AP flour; 1 cup of hot stock.

The Marsala and champagne and meat are suppose to marinate for 24 hrs. The rest is pretty detailed ......if you own this book , it is on page 214.

Thank you for any input....
Joined May 26, 2001
Oh, my, does that sound wonderful! A ballotine of capon -- although the Italian tacchino usually is turkey, no?

Anyway, to your substitutions:
If you can't get caul fat, you can cut very,very thin slices of salt pork and blanch them to remove the salt. Cut as thin as you can. You might have to remove them before serving, esp. if it's supposed to be nice and brown (before finishing cooking, then) -- although in spite of the fact that caul fat supposedly all melts and disappears, I've always still seen it in something like crépinette.

No Champagne and no other sparkling wine? Just use a decent dry white, or maybe some brandy. :crazy:

As to the forcemeat: What do they mean by "candied cherries"? Glacé? Ugh. I would maybe substitute dried cherries or cranberries if it's supposed to be glacé. They're probably just there for color anyway.

Could you use foie gras mousse, maybe? that would be easier to use, and less expensive. Can you imagine buying a whole lobe just for 2 tablespoons? :eek: And bits of truffle instead of slicing three whole small ones? Fresh are so terribly expensive, but canned are not as bad -- just be careful they are really truffles and not the Chinese stuff that looks like them but has no flavor.

Do let us know how it turns out! It sounds très riche. :lips:
Joined Aug 18, 2007
No idea recipe-wise. Just wondering where you found a 10lb chicken. are they easily sourced? I've never heard of one so big
Joined Feb 13, 2008
You can substitute almost any white wine for the champagne, but wine not Vermouth. Anything with a truly different character like cognac, madeira, sherry, etc., will lend a truly different character. Could be good, just sayin' is all.

There really isn't a proper substitute for caul fat as you're directed to use it. You can just omit it.

You see, a 10 lb chicken was bound to be very old and very lean, you'd have needed the caul fat to prevent the bird from drying out. Because of the difficulty of sourcing a 10lb chicken, you'll be cooking something else. If it's a straight roast in a dry oven, you can try any of the usual techniques for keeping the breast moist -- like barding, wrapping, stuffing with butter beneath the skin, or even wrapping with buttered parchment or foil for the first 50% of the cook.

If the ballotine is to be braised, just brown it off in good lard before putting it in the braising liquid.

I've found that the key to ballotines is in the tying.

The recipe is very ambitious and old fashioned. It's a type of cooking which is almost never done any more.

Bon chance,
Joined Aug 25, 2009
Thank you so much for the input.

And yes, it is stuffing for a turkey.

There is a farm 45 minutes from where I am and they sell grain fed chickens , no older than 4-5 months . These are the biggest chickens I have ever seen. By the way, her chickens start at 8 pounds & up they look like medium sized turkeys . As for the quality and is all I buy, moist and tender.
She sells Angus, pigs and lamb .

This is for work, so getting what I need is not a huge problem unless something is not in season or very hard to get.

I checked the recipe again regarding the cherries , there was no mention of what type, so I believe it is decorative.
About the foie gras : in stock
Truffles : I think I will go with two, finely chopped. (yes about the Chinese)

I will go with butter under the skin and dry white wine then. The last thing I want to do is dry it out...maybe start it off at 375 and then bring it down.

The recipe is not common. The reason why I chose it was because of the steps and technique involved, but more so, the ingredients .
I am half way through the book (reading) and I have come across so many new ideas and techniques. At first I thought the book might be outdated until I realized today, it is ahead of its time , right up there with some of the Greats.

Thank you for all your ideas.....still to be made.
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