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Chicken in Paper

Pollo al Cartoccio


The Italians' fondness for hunting and cooking game birds is especially evident on the Capodanno (New Year's) table, when game birds such as guinea fowl are traditionally served. I use chicken in this recipe because it is readily available, but other types of game, such as pheasant and capon, produce delicious results too. Parchment paper helps to keep the meat from drying out, and "the package" makes a dramatic presentation when it is opened at the table.


1 3-pound roasting chicken

Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 large lemon

1/4 pound prosciutto, thinly sliced (about 8 slices)

1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

6 fresh sage leaves

1 1/2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves

1 tablespoon Filippo Berio extra-virgin olive oil

Parchment paper


Preheat the oven to 350 F. Wash and dry the chicken. Sprinkle the cavity with salt and pepper. With a skewer, poke holes all over the lemon and place it inside the chicken cavity. Tie the legs together with string and set aside.

Place a sheet of aluminum foil large enough to enclose the chicken on a baking pan and lay a sheet of parchment paper on top of the foil. Cut the prosciutto slices in half crosswise and overlap the slices in the middle of the parchment paper. Cover the prosciutto with half the herbs. Place the chicken on top of the prosciutto and brush with the olive oil. Sprinkle the remaining herbs over the top. Fold the parchment paper up over the chicken and fold the edges over to seal, then fold over the foil, making a tight seal.

Bake the chicken for about 1 1/4 hours, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thigh registers 165 to 170 F.

Place the wrapped bird on a serving platter. Cut through the foil and parchment paper at the table with scissors. Carve the chicken and serve with the cooking juices and the prosciutto.

This recipe is from CELEBRATIONS ITALIAN STYLE by Mary Ann Esposito, published by William Morrow and Company Inc., in 1995.


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