This is a real dish. Perfected in New York City on New Year's Day.
One 3-lb Brooklyn halal chicken, fresh. You can use any chicken but this is what I got.
4 Tb fig jam (avail in Middle Eastern shops)
4 oz ready-to-eat foilpak chestnuts, small diced (avail from Asian shops)
4 Tb total, mix of dried sour cherries and cranberries, soaked in a small jar with AT LEAST an equal amount of good cognac for two days until plumped, drunk, and irrestibly fragrant.
4 Tb walnuts, broken into small pieces.
1 tsp onion powder
2 egg whites, lightly beaten.
2 links sweet turkey sausage, casing removed.
Pinch of fresh ground nutmeg.
Salt & Pepper.
1/2 cup pomegranate syrup (avail in Middle Eastern shop)
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup chicken juice from roasting pan, mostly de-fatted
Boil until reduced in half and slightly thickened. Watch out for sudden bubbling over.
Split the chicken in half. De-bone each half from the inside, peeling the breast and back away from the ribs. Do not break the skin. Trim off the wings entirely, if you are not zealous enough to attemp de-boning these. Keep the leg attached to the body. De-bone the thigh and leg from the inside, pulling the legbones from the interior until they're almost inside out. Scrape the tendons away the best you can. Do not break the leg skin, you will need this part to stay intact for later. Lay each chicken half, skin-down, on a cutting board. Split or butterfly the breast and thighs from the inside, wherever it's more than 3/8" thick and re-arrange the chicken meat into a flat rectangle, evening out the thickness across the sheet as much as practical. Season lightly with salt & black pepper. Spread fig jam in a stripe across the middle of the chicken, then sprinkle the fruit & nut & eggwhite mix. Dot the sausage meat in a line along the far edge. Roll up each chicken half like a sushi roll. The skin must be intact for this to work.
Hold the shape in place with bamboo skewers, if necessary, while you tie the chicken roll shut with cotton twine. Each slippery and over-stuffed chicken roll will be about 2" in diameter and will have a tendency to herniate, but be gentle and persistent, and tie it up at 1-1/2" intervals, especially the ENDS. Roast seam-side up about 35-40 minutes at 400F on a rack, and until the internal temperature is almost done. Turn once, halfway, so it finishes seam-side down. Let rest while you tranform the pan juices into a kick-ass glaze. Cut with serrated knife into 1/2" slices. Serves six to eight.
*Commentary: I did a trial run around Christmas using a whole chicken, de-boned and rolled but the final result had a grotesque scale to it, somehow too meaty and too much filling at the same time. The filled & rolled 1/2 chicken makes a very nice sized log, similar to a pork tenderloin size, which slices nicely into fork-friendly 2" diameter rounds. The twin rolls, each half chicken laid side-by-side, looked great on the serving plate. The de-boning was the most difficult part, but totally worth it. I think this would work with a whole turkey breast as well. Will post photos the next time I try this.