Roast X-mas chicken with gravy and pork and merguez stuffing.

This recipe is inspired from Gordon Ramsay’s Christmas turkey. We tried it a few times, and we like it better without the apricots. And we like chicken better than turkey! Here are the three parts!


Here is the video for visuals:
1 lb ground pork
salt and pepper
1 large apple, grated
(in the original recipe there were apricots)
about a handful of pistachio nuts, shelled and roughly chopped
zest of 1 lemon
a handfull of chopped parsley
olive oil
a lot of fresh sage leaves
2 merguez sausages

Mix ground pork, grated apple, pistachios, zest and parsley together. Add salt and pepper, On a large sheet of aluminum, drizzle olive oil and arrange the sage leaves right side down so they stick to the oil and overlap in two rows so they form a rectangle of sorts the length of 1.5 to two merguez sausages placed end to end. Season. Spread half of the pork mixture onto the leaves, run your finger down the middle to make a groove for the sausages. Place sausages in groove and cover with remaining pork. Wrap foil around the stuffing, twisting ends to seal. Roll package to get a tight and even log shape. IF making ahead, refrigerate at this stage. Place in a baking dish and bake in a preheated oven at 400 F for about 40 minutes. Leave to rest for 10 minutes before slicing to serve.


Here is the video in case you need visual cues.
1 chicken (or Turkey, but we prefer chicken)
salt and pepper
2 onions, peeled and halved
2 lemons
3 garlic cloves crushed
small bunch of parsley chopped
375 gr unsalted butter at room temp.
1 tbsp olive oil
3 bay leaves
bacon slices

Preheat oven to 430 F. Prepare herb butter by mixing butter with salt and pepper,  parsley, zest of 2 lemons, juice of 1 lemon, crushed garlic, olive oil and parsley. Set aside.
Season chicken cavity, stuff with onions, 1 lemon cut in two and bay leaves. Loosen skin on the breast with your hands, being gentle so as not to tear. Do the same with the thighs. Stuff half the butter mixture between the skin and meat and gently massage the butter into hard to reach areas. Place bird in roasting tray (not glass!) breast side up. Spread rest of butter onto bird, season with salt and pepper then drizzle a bit of olive oil. If preparing ahead, cover with foil and refrigerate.

Roast turkey in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Take bird out of oven, and place bacon strips over breast. Lower heat to 360 F and cook until done (use thermometer! it avoids errors), they say 30 minutes per kg, but it always takes more time here! When done, remove from oven, let chicken rest under foil. Remove parson’s nose (the butt) and wings for the gravy. Remove lemon and onion from cavity for gravy and bacon from breast!


This has got to be the best tasting gravy I have ever eaten. here is a link to the youtube video in case you need visual cues.

3 sprigs fresh rosemary
3 fresh tomatoes chopped
1 cup apple cider (I never have this in house so I end up using leftover pear wine someone once gifted us)
2 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup walnuts chopped

Drain the roasting pan juices and reserve. Heat up roasting pan on the stove and add all the stuff you took from the roasted chicken- chopped up bacon, chopped up lemon and onion. Add 2 sprigs of rosemary and tomatoes. Sauté for 2 minutes. Add wings and parson’s nose to pan and stir. Pour in cider and bring to a boil, scraping the browned bits on bottom of pan. Reduce by half then add reserved juices. Reduce once more by half. Crush everything with a potato masher to bring out their juices. Pour in chicken broth, bring to a boil and add remaining rosemary. In your gravy boat, place walnuts. Strain gravy into boat and serve.

Bon appetit!

Why raise Berkshire pigs on pasture?

The Berkshire breed is known for marbling and the pH and juiciness of the meat.

Compared to other heritage breeds, whose claims to fame are… rather inventive, most of our clients say they had no idea what pork was supposed to taste like, before they tried our Berkshire.

That is certainly true for some cuts, but there is definitely a place for crossbred pigs on our farm as well. Our crossbred Duroc pigs are leaner… and cheaper.

We used to raise Tamworth pigs, but eating quality was mediocre to say the least

Unfortunately, Berkshires aren’t great mothers, and they do not have a lot of babies. So raising them is quite a lot more expensive, especially if one elects to follow humane methods of raising pigs from birth to plate.

We find that raising pigs on pasture is easy and it has only a small impact on taste, costs, animal welfare, the environmental etc. That is, if it is done well.

Raising Berkshire pigs on pasture

For us, doing it right does not mean forcing the animals to be outside rain or shine, year round. It means giving the animals a choice. So we have to ensure a good environment inside as well.

The harder part, and where the more sustainability gains can be achieved, is in the maternity, where ‘natural’ and ‘humane’ do not always go hand-in-hand, and where diseases are usually rampant. On our farm, Berkshire pigs are raised under the best possible humane conditions, without antibiotics, from the day they are born. This is not some vague promise. Our ‘humane Berkshire’ maternity costs are four times higher than for those for a conventional pig. No wonder our pigs are a little more expensive.

Biyearly blood test indicate that our herd is exempt of all major pig diseases and we enforce strict biosecurity measures to keep it that way.

And the hardest part of course is genetics. There is probably more variation within breeds than among breeds, in terms of meat quality and efficiency. Efficiency is important because it limits waste and thus saves the environment and the farm finances. So, for us, it is certainly not enough to raise Berkshires. We want to raise the best Berkshires, and this implies artificial insemination and matching breeding pairs based on DNA samples.