Smoked Chicken with Pumpkin-Sage Butter 

House Rock Kitchen

click to enlarge MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper

Smoked Half Chicken with Pumpkin-Sage Butter; with Sweet Potato and Russet Potato Gratin, Garlic-Sautéed Mushrooms with Dried Currants, and Truffle-Grilled Veggies and Crispy Tobacco Onions

For smoked chicken:

1 whole young, organic or natural chicken, cut in half

1½ c. mesquite smoking chips

1½ c. white cooking wine

clarified butter for rub

1 tsp. black pepper

1 tbsp. Lawry's seasoned salt

For pumpkin sage butter:

1 tbsp. minced garlic

1 29-oz. can puréed pumpkin

1 c. fresh sage, minced

1 tbsp. salt

2 tsp. pepper

2 tbsp. + 2 tsp. sugar

2 lbs. butter, softened

For garlic and currant mushrooms:

½ lb. baby portobello mushrooms

1 tsp. roasted garlic

1 oz. clarified butter

½ c. dried currants

For potato gratin:

8 white potatoes (peel and wash and slice thinly on a mandoline)

3 large yams (peel and wash and slice thinly on a mandoline)

¾ lb. shredded cheddar jack cheese

3 eggs

11/2 to 2 qts. heavy cream

1 tsp. white pepper

1 tbsp. kosher salt

1 tbsp. minced garlic

1/3 lb. whole butter

For truffle veggies:

½ zucchini

½ yellow squash

1 carrot

truffle oil, salt and pepper for dredge

For tobacco onions:

1 qt. sweet milk

2 large white or yellow onions, finely julienned

1 qt. flour

¼ c. Old Bay seasoning

1½ tbsp. salt

1 tsp. pepper

1 tsp. dried parsley

oil for deep frying

For pumpkin sage butter:

Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and blend together using a mixer, hand blender or whip.

For smoked chicken:

Smoke chicken for 20 minutes at 250 degrees. (I use an Alto-Shaam smoker, but you'll find many creative methods online for smoking at home with a grill or oven.) Next, put chicken in the fridge to cool, about 25 minutes. Remove and stuff under the skin with the pumpkin sage butter — roughly 11/2 cups per half. (Any extra butter freezes well for later use.)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place two chicken halves in a shallow, half hotel pan with the wine, rub with a little more clarified butter, and sprinkle with the pepper and seasoned salt. Cook 40 to 45 minutes until just-cooked. (If able to use a convection oven, cook at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.)

For garlic and currant mushrooms:

Cut mushrooms in half, and then quarter-inch slices. Heat skillet to medium-high heat and add roasted garlic and butter. Add sliced mushrooms and sauté until tender. Add currants at the very end and toss lightly with mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper and keep warm.

For potato gratin:

Grease a medium-deep hotel pan. Whisk all ingredients except shredded cheese and potatoes and yams in a large bowl. Lay potatoes in pan starting with the sweet slices first. In between each layer sprinkle ½ cup of cheese. When you have all of your potatoes in the pan, pour the cream and egg mixture over the top of the potatoes. Sprinkle the top of the potatoes with a little salt and pepper to taste. Finally, wrap with foil and place potatoes into a 300-degree preheated oven. Cook for 40 minutes at 300, then take the cover off. Raise temp to 350 and bake for another 35 minutes. If they seem as if they are browning too quickly, just place the foil back over the top to prevent burning. Check to make sure the potatoes are soft before removing. At certain altitudes, it takes longer to cook.

For truffle veggies:

Slice veggies a quarter-inch thick. (You can cut them however you choose as long as they aren't too thin and you don't overcook them.) Dredge through truffle oil, salt and pepper. Grill for 2 minutes on each side.

<>bFor tobacco onions:

Place julienned onions in milk and let sit for at least 1 hour. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Drain onions from milk and put into the seasoning mixture and toss until evenly coated. Shake off any excess flour and put into deep-fryer for 2 minutes or until golden brown and crisp.

For plating:

You can see from the photo how I arrange my presentation, but feel free to get creative with your own. Bring all ingredients to temp and have fun.


This dish is a favorite seasonal dish at River's Edge in Salida, where I worked up until just recently. Not only is it amazingly delicious, but it really brings out all of those wonderful things we love so much about harvest time.

— Submitted by Executive Chef Wes Fox

  • House Rock Kitchen

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