Ed Giobbi's Chicken in Clay

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2 hours 4 Servings Print RecipeEmail Recipe


2 1⁄2poundwhole chicken (plus giblets, all ready to cook)
  salt (to taste)
2clovegarlic (large)
11poundsculptor's or potter's earth clay (see notes)
3tablespoonshallots (finely minced)
3tablespoonvegetable oil (or corn or peanut oil)
3⁄4poundfresh mushrooms (coarsely chopped - about 4 cups)
1⁄4cupdry sherry
1tablespoonflat leaf parsley (finely chopped)


Heat the over to 350 degrees.

Sprinkle the chicken inside and out with salt and pepper. Set the giblets aside.

Cut the garlic lengthwise into eight slivers. Insert four slivers under the skin that covers the breast of the chicken. Put one-third of the rosemary under the skin.

Put the remaining four slivers of garlic into the cavity of the chicken. Put another one-third of the rosemary into the cavity.

Rub the outside of the chicken with the remaining rosemary.

Fold the wing tips under the chicken. Truss the chicken as neatly and compactly as possible with string.

Lay out a large rectangle of aluminum foil on a flat surface. Place the chicken in the center. Wrap the chicken as compactly as possible inside the foil.

Gather together a large handful of the clay. Flatten this handful to a thickness of about one inch and apply it to one outside section of the foil-wrapped chicken. Place another flattened handful of clay slightly overlapping and press to seal the two pieces together. Continue applying handfuls of clay, pressing as you work, until the chicken is completely and compactly covered with clay. Smooth the clay over as you work. You may bake the chicken at this point or you may "sculpt" the product with additional pieces of clay, shaping it to resemble a whole bird with beak, feet, eyes, tail feathers and so on.

Place in the oven and bake 45 minutes. Increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees. As the clay bakes it may develop cracks. As these are noticed, seal the cracks by smearing on a little more clay.

Continue baking the chicken for 30 minutes. If desired, you may then paint the clay with poster paint or watercolors.

Meanwhile, prepare the sauce. Heat one tablespoon of the oil in a skillet and add the gizzard. Cook, turning often, about five minutes. Add the liver and heart and continue cooking about five minutes longer, turning the pieces often. Set aside.

Heat the remaining two tablespoons of oil in a skillet and add the chopped shallots. Cook briefly, stirring, and add the chopped mushrooms. Cook, stirring, about four minutes.

Cut away and discard the tough membrane of the gizzard. Cut the gizzard into small pieces and add it to the mushrooms. Add salt and pepper. Continue cooking, stirring often, until the liquid from the mushrooms evaporates. Add the sherry. Chop the liver and heart into small cubes and add to the mushroom mixture. Stir in the parsley. Cover and cook about three minutes.

Crack the clay and remove the chicken. Take it out of the foil. Add the liquid in the foil to the mushroom mixture and simmer about two minutes. Carve the chicken and serve with the mushroom sauce.


The type of clay needed is commonly referred to as "earth clay" - you do not want any clay with plastics or referred to as "Plasticine". Art stores, pottery equipment and supply houses typically have the type of clay necessary.

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