TOYUQ LEVENGI (STUFFED CHICKEN)
Levengi is the name of the chicken or fish stuffing. Toyuq Levengi (Stuffed Chicken) and Baliq Levengi (Stuffed Fish) are the treasure dishes of Azerbaijani cuisine. Levengi stuffing made of walnuts, fried onions and variety of dried fruit, such as plums, prunes, raisins and lavash of sour cherry-plums.
Toyuq Levengi usually baked in the oven (traditionally in tendir or clay oven) and presented on a large platter with the stuffing still intact inside, and the host typically serves each guest a portion of the chicken along with the stuffing.
*A full-sized picture of this dish is available in the Gallery.
2 small Cornish hen chicken
1 large Onion
1 cup of Walnuts
1 cup of Raisins
1 cup of Prunes
1 cup of sour Cherry-plums
lavashana (or tamarind sauce) to taste
50gr of butter
Salt, Pepper to taste
Preparing the chicken.
Defrost the chicken if frozen, reach inside the chicken’s body cavity and remove the bag of giblets if there is any. Rinse and pat the chicken dry very thoroughly with paper towels, making sure to absorb any liquid behind the wings or legs. Blot inside the body cavity too, getting the chicken as dry as you can, inside and out. Sprinkle the outside of the chicken generously with salt and pepper, and rub a little salt and pepper inside the cavity as well.
Preparing the stuffing.
Peel and chop the onion and fry in the 2 tbsp of clarified butter until golden brown.
Grind the fried onion, nuts, raisins, prunes, and cherry plums with a food processor or a meat grinder. If you are using lavashana plunged it into hot water to make it softer. Cherry-plum pastille can be used instead of lavash.
Mix well all stuffing’s ingredients together, add melted butter if desired.
Preparing Chicken levengi.
Put the stuffing into the chicken’s cavity, packing it firmly inside. Pour melted butter and some cherry-plum pastille over the chicken, rubbing to coat it well (instead use tamarind sauce.)
Place your chicken in the roasting pan or roasting rack. Using a roasting rack set over the pan will help the chicken cook more evenly, since air can circulate freely. With a roasting rack, the chicken won’t be resting in its own juice, which will give you crispier skin. For easier cleanup, you can line the pan with aluminum foil.
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Put both chickens in the oven and roast them for an hour until they are cooked. To see if the chicken is cooked, pierce the inner thigh with a skewer or fine knife. If the juices run clear, the chicken is ready. If your chickens are golden brown, but not cooked yet, just loosely cover them with the foil.
Remove the chicken from the oven and leave to rest for 10 minutes before serving.
Bon Appétit! Enjoy!
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