Skip to main content

Stuffed Chicken from 1896

Bertha Gumprich’s stuffed chicken recipe was probably my favorite of all the dishes I have prepared using cookbooks from the LBI collections.  I liked it; my guests liked it; my cat went nuts when I took the chicken out of the oven and lunged for a piece.  The best part about this dish was that it was very easy to prepare.  It required only a few ingredients and little preparation.

An advertisement for a butter substitute in a German-Jewish newspaper
An advertisement in a German-Jewish newspaper for a kosher butter substitute that can be used with both meat and dairy dishes. From General-Anzeiger für die gesamten Interessen des Judentums , LBI Library, B86

According to Gumprich:

Dampen 1 to 2 white bread rolls in cold water. When they are soft, squeeze them out very well, add salt, pepper, nutmeg, finely cut parsley, and two eggs to that. Mix well. Rub the hen inside with a little pepper and salt, fill it with the filling and sew it shut. Lay it in a pot, sprinkle with salt and pepper, add fat to it and bake it until golden, basting often. Discard the fat, pour a little bouillon in the pot, and make the sauce creamy with a little wheat starch. The sauce is served in a saucer with the hen at the table.
Preparing the stuffing for the chicken
Like most of Gumprich’s recipes for chicken, the stuffing is seasoned by nutmeg, parsley, shallots, salt, and pepper. Private Photo.
Seasoning the chicken with salt and pepper
Before the chicken is stuffed, it is liberally salted and peppered inside and out. Private Photo.
Adding fat to the chicken
Gumprich’s recipe calls for “fat” without specifying what kind. Contemporary cooks keeping kosher kitchens would have known what to do. Private Photo.

This was also the first time I used nutmeg in a savory dish. In fact, most of Gumprich’s chicken recipes call for the same seasonings: nutmeg, parsley, onions or shallots, salt, and pepper.  Occasionally, recipes call for ginger or garlic.  In the end, the stuffing from my recipe was a little mushy but tasty from the nutmeg and other seasonings.

An advertisement from schmalz in an early 20th century Jewish newspaper
An advertisement for kosher schmalz in a German-Jewish newspaper. From General-Anzeiger für die gesamten Interessen des Judentums , LBI Library, B86

I should add a caveat that, despite the intention of the cookbook’s author, the recipe as I prepared it was not kosher. The recipe called for fat. I thought butter would be an excellent fat, and it was delicious.  It also rendered the dish treyf (not-kosher).

In her other chicken recipes, Gumprich specifies “Gänsefett” or goose fat, which is also something I don’t keep around or even know where to buy. The “sauce” or gravy, made with bouillon and wheat starch, wasn’t half bad.

The finished chicken in its delicious gravy cut open for eating
The chicken emerged from the oven with the beginnings of a delicious gravy forming in the pan. Private Photo.