Tie together chicken drumsticks in the form of a crown roast for this show-stopping holiday meal, complete with cornbread and candied pecan dressing and country cream gravy.
Sunset NOVEMBER 2002
1. Rinse drumsticks and pat dry.
2. Thread white cotton string (about 48 in. long; see notes) through a needle. About 1/2 inch from large end of one drumstick, push needle through flesh, perpendicular to and against the bone; pull string through (if needle is too slippery to grasp, use pliers). Repeat to thread the remaining drumsticks together, keeping larger, curved sides aligned in the same direction. Leave equal lengths of string loose at both ends of drumstick chain.
3. Thread needle with another 48-inch length of string. About 1 inch from narrow end of drumsticks, on the same side of bones where first string is threaded, push needle through flesh, perpendicular to and against bones; pull string through, leaving equal lengths of string loose at ends.
4. In a small bowl, mix flour, paprika, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Rub evenly over drumsticks.
5. Set a 6- to 7-inch-wide round, straight-sided, ovenproof dish or pan, 2 1/2 to 3 inches tall (see notes for options), in the center of a 12- to 14-inch nonstick pizza pan. Lean drumsticks, narrow ends up, against and around the dish (a second set of hands helps); tie bottom string ends snugly to hold drumsticks close to dish, then tie top string ends together to keep drumsticks stable. Gently adjust drumsticks so they are equally spaced.
6. Set pan on a rack in the lower half of a 375° regular or convection oven. Bake until drumsticks are well browned, 55 to 60 minutes. Protecting your hands with oven mitts, firmly hold drumsticks against dish and transfer to a platter at least 12 inches wide.
7. Mound cornbread and candied pecan dressing in the dish; reserve drippings in pizza pan for country cream gravy. Sprinkle dressing and platter rim with reserved candied pecans. (Keep crown warm in oven with door ajar while making gravy.) Garnish with sprigs of parsley to conceal center dish.
8. To serve, snip string and pull off drumsticks; arrange on plates with dressing and pecans. Spoon gravy over dressing; add salt and pepper to taste.
Nutritional analysis per serving chicken only.
Use white cotton string and a large-eye needle (the kind used for yarn stitching, found in craft and hobby shops and fabric stores) to lace the roast together. For the form, use a soufflé dish; a straight-sided, ovenproof bowl; a cheesecake pan; or plain tart rings (stack and wrap smoothly with foil for adequate height).
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