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Oct 8, 2011 05:03 AM

Chicken wrapped in Clay (Beggers Chicken) - Help!

Has anyone ever done this? I want to do 20-30 of these for an event and would love to hear any experience you have had with it.

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    1. Ahah... I remember you mentioning this in a Bovinova thread a few months ago.

      I have not tried, but I think the choice of clay is going to be key since presumably you'll get some flavors (and hopefully not toxins!) from the clay permeating through the lotus leaves wrapped around the chicken. So I'd say any of the "polymer clays" are out. Natural clays won't vitrify unless you get them up to 1000F or more but maybe that's good... if the clay coating remains porous it may be less prone to cracking (or exploding!).

      I have seen some reports on the Web from people who tried to cook a chicken as in the "Beggar's Chicken" story -- with feathers, guts, and all. That doesn't seem to work too well -- plucked and gutted (and then stuffed) seems to be the way to go.

      1. Thanks for the replies. I have to be careful talking about Bovinova on Chowhound. I have been reprimanded and had post removed because of "self promotion". I am all about technique in cooking and want to learn and show others old ways of cooking. Thanks for your help.

        3 Replies
        1. re: JB BANNISTER

          Understood, JB. I won't mention the event further.

          Looking at the videos at the link scunge posted, I found this one particularly interesting:

          It's San Francisco restaurateur Cecilia Chiang. In the video, the other chef mentions that they did 60 chickens before finding the right clay (so maybe my previous post about the clay being key was correct!). Right at the end, they say that the recipe is in Chiang's book "Seventh Daughter":

          Might be worth checking that.

          1. re: drongo

            She sound like a person I need to call Thanks.

        2. Here is the finished product before busting it open.

          2 Replies
          1. re: JB BANNISTER

            What sort of clay body did you settle on?

            1. re: meatn3

              The high school teacher got it from his room. I think it was low fire clay

          2. They turned out great. Steamed perfectly. These are the before pictures.

            3 Replies
            1. re: JB BANNISTER

              They were delicious and very succulent. Were they brined?

              1. re: meatn3

                They were rubbed with Montreal seasoning and had two lime quarters in the cavity. They were moist because they were steamed inside the clay.

                1. re: JB BANNISTER

                  Thanks. I could taste seasoning but did not see it - hence the pondering about brining!