If you aren't familiar with David Friedman and his work, I recommend that you first read his Wikipedia page and then check out and follow his blog and read his famous book The Machinery of Freedom, available as free download. Last year I was lucky to meet Dr. Friedman here in Hong Kong and attend and film his lecture on Law Enforcement Without the State, given at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. I even had the privilege to interview him about various difficult questions about libertarianism, an hour long conversation which you might find very interesting.
Back to the Icelandic Chicken. Reading through Dr. Friedman's instructions and description of his cooking results and by following the original medieval recipe in his culinary book How to Milk an Almond, Stuff an Egg, and Armor a Turnip: A Thousand Years of Recipes, I decided to make some improvements in my own version according to my desired taste.
Since I prefer chicken to be crisp on the outside, I decided to leave the top part largely uncovered - no dough. Only the underside and the sides of the 1/2 chicken used were wrapped in dough, with some of it purposefully sticking out with an intent to achieve bread like browning. Another modification I did was to mix the dough with yeast an leave it rise for couple of hours before knocking it down and shaping into a pizza like dough. Finally, since I like roasted potatoes with roasted chicken, I decided to add them to the pan as well. For that I peeled potatoes, added some garlic, onions, salt, pepper, Croatian multi-spice Vegeta, and mixed in a bit of olive oil for reaching higher temperature and crispiness of the potatoes.
The main ingredients are ready. Using only 1/2 chicken. The dough had been previously prepared and let to rise for couple of hours.
Knocked back dough and shaped like a pizza. The leftover chunk can be used to cover the chicken completely from the top, as per the instructions. I opted to keep the top of the chicken exposed for crispiness. Used the leftover dough to make some bread later.
Bottom half and sides of the chicken wrapped in dough.
Peeled and spiced potatoes for roasting on the side.
Chicken and potatoes ready for roasting.
It is interesting to note that every ingredient used in this dish is from a different country. None of it is from Hong Kong. What ever happened to that "buy local" mantra, eh? Do you think such campaigns make any sense? Just think about it for a sec!
Finished Icelandic chicken, with a Balkans twist.
What I got in the end was a chicken that was crispy on top, dough that was soft underneath and filled with extremely yummy drippings mixed with flavor from roasted onions and garlic, and browned on the sides with a nice yeasty pizza bread-like flavor, and lots of roasted potatoes on the side. In a way, it is like roast chicken and potatoes on a pizza, all in one. Dangerously tasty stuff!
Peeking through the dough. Can you see the drippings juice?
The underside looks good too. A bit crisp golden yellow bottom and soft inside. My mouth is watering right now!
Torn piece above looks and tastes like pizza with a flavor of chicken, bacon, garlic and onion. Heaven!
Leftover dough made into some fresh bread for later consumption.
I have to admit that cooked in a baking tray instead of a pan, and being half covered with dough and with addition of potatoes instead of just being covered with dough completely, my version looks like a completely different dish. Though in reality they are not that different. Someone please tell me if I'm wrong.
Dr. Friedman's version and my version side by side.
In any case, it is a great tasting dish that is very easy and fun to make. My Chinese wife loved it too. She has already made the request for me to make it again soon. Now, what else looks interesting in that medieval cookbook?