Dinner at Dr No’s (Dr No, 1958) is a rather formal affair with a suitably sophisticated menu to match. James Bond orders grilled lamb cutlets and a salad for himself, and melon, roast chicken à l’anglaise and vanilla ice-cream with chocolate sauce for Honeychile Rider, who had not been able to order for herself. The chicken is roasted in the English style, which in this case means that the chicken is filled with a forcemeat stuffing familiar to lovers of the classic Sunday roast. I’ve given the stuffing recipe a Bondian twist by adding hickory-smoked bacon, representing, with the egg (a standard stuffing ingredient), Bond’s fondness for scrambled eggs and bacon, and, to represent his gin martinis, ground juniper berries.
It’s usually recommended in cookbooks that the stuffing is placed under the skin and at the neck end, but here I place the stuffing inside the chicken for an appropriately old-fashioned quality. If you’re following the recipe, however, take care to ensure that the chicken is cooked through.
When testing the recipe, I ended up with too many breadcrumbs. Rather than waste the excess breadcrumbs, I made bread sauce, which is, as it happens, a traditional accompaniment to roast chicken.
- 1 medium chicken (approx. 1.5kg)
For the stuffing
- 40g breadcrumbs (from 1 slice of bread)
- 4 sausages (approx. 225g)
- 8 rashers hickory-smoked bacon, 4 of them coarsely chopped
- 1 egg, beaten
- 2 shallots or 1 small onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
- ½ tsp ground juniper berries
- 1 tsp finely chopped sage
- Pinch of black pepper
For the bread sauce (optional)
- 40g breadcrumbs
- 300ml milk
- 15g butter
- 1 bay leaf
- Pinch of salt and black pepper
Heat the oven to 190C (170C fan-assisted; 375F). Remove the skins from the sausages and place the meat in a food processor. Add four slices of bacon (the slices that have been coarsely chopped), then the remaining stuffing ingredients. Switch on the processor for 30 seconds or so until all the ingredients are thoroughly mixed and finely chopped. (If you don’t have a processor, mince all the ingredients by hand and mix together in a mixing bowl.)
Stuff the cavity of the chicken with the mixture (place any leftover stuffing in a buttered ramekin and cook separately in the oven for about 30 minutes). Put the chicken into a roasting pan and bard the breast and legs with the remaining bacon slices. Transfer the pan to the oven. Cooking time is conventionally 40 minutes per kilo, plus 20 minutes, but allow a longer cooking time for the stuffed bird. My 1.35kg chicken was cooked in 1 hour, 45 minutes. After an hour’s cooking, remove the bacon from the top of the chicken, baste the breast and legs, return the pan to the oven for the remaining time.
Once cooked (check that the juices run clear), allow the chicken to rest for 10-15 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare (if desired) the bread sauce. Put the milk and bay leaf into a saucepan and bring the milk to the boil over a medium heat. As the milk begins to boil, remove the bay leaf and add the breadcrumbs, butter and a pinch of salt and black pepper. Reduce the heat and stir or whisk the sauce until it has thickened and become as smooth as possible. Pour the sauce into a jug or bowl.