No matter how you slice it, chicken is still a traditional favorite

Why is chicken such an appropriate choice for Christmas dinner? First, because it is so popular that Americans ate 12 billion pounds of it last year - more than 50 pounds each.

It is also the most versatile and economical of meats, but its greatest selling point is tradition. Capon and chicken were standard fare for ancient English holiday feasting.

Probably most of the chicken Americans consume is broiled or fried, but at Thanksgiving and Christmas we grow nostalgic for the sight and taste of a golden , crisp stuffed chicken and its succulent, tender meat seasoned with herbs and spices.

I call this recipe All-American Roast Stuffed Chicken because it is so like hundreds of thousands of roast chickens that have appeared on holiday platters for generations. All-American Roast Stuffed Chicken 1 4-pound roasting chicken Bread Stuffing (recipe below) 2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted 1 13 3/4-ounce can chicken broth

Wash chicken well under cold running water. Dry with paper towels. Remove and discard excess fat.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Make stuffing (recipe follows).

Fill body cavity with stuffing. Close with poultry pins. Tie legs together with twine. Tuck wings under body. Reserve rest of giblets for use another time.

Place chicken on rack in shallow roasting pan. Brush with melted butter.

Roast, uncovered, 3 hours, or until leg joints move easily. Baste occasionally with pan drippings.

Remove chicken to heated platter. Remove poultry pins and twine. Let stand 15 minutes before carving.

Skim fat from drippings. Add chicken broth to pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring to dissolve brown bits. Simmer until reduced to 1 cup. Strain into gravy boat. Serves 4 to 6. Bread Stuffing 1/4 cup butter or margarine 2/3 cup finely chopped onion 1 chicken liver, chopped 1 1/3 cups white bread cubes 1/4 cup chopped parsley 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/8 teaspoon pepper 1/4 cup milk

In 1/4 cup hot melted butter or margarine in medium skillet, saute onion until golden.

Add chicken liver. Saute 1 minute. Remove from heat.

Stir in bread cubes, parsley, thyme, salt, and pepper. Add milk, tossing mixture with a fork.

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