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Sage-Stuffed Roast Chicken

Setauket Clam Chowder. METRO photo

By Barbara Beltrami

Dear Reader, I’m sorry to say that this is my last Cooking Cove column. Sharing my recipes and anecdotes with you and getting your enthusiastic positive feedback has made these past six years a labor of love. I will be continuing to write a cooking column independently and hope that you will join me by sending your name and email address to me at [email protected] so we can keep cooking together.  Meanwhile it’s only fitting and proper that I share my recipes for a few of my favorite things for a farewell dinner.

Champagne Cocktail

YIELD: Makes 2 cocktails


12 ounces Champagne or Prosecco

2 sugar cubes

10 dashes Angostura bitters

2 long thin curly lemon peels


Chill the champagne or Prosecco thoroughly. Place sugar cubes in glasses, add the bitters to the sugar cubes, drop in the lemon peel, then pour champagne. Serve immediately with fresh oysters, smoked salmon or caviar.

Setauket Clam Chowder

YIELD: Makes 8 to 10 servings


2 dozen cherrystone clams, scrubbed, purged

4 ounces unsalted butter

1 leek, light green and white part only, washed and thinly sliced

3 potatoes, peeled and sliced thin

1/2 cup dry white wine

Large sprig fresh thyme

1 bay leaf

2 cups half and half

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1/3 cup chopped Italian flat leaf parsley


Place clams in a large pot and add one quart water. Cover and cook over medium-high heat about 10 to 15 minutes, until clams open. Discard any that don’t open after 15 minutes. Remove clams from liquid and set aside to cool. Strain broth through a sieve or strainer lined with paper towels or cheesecloth; set that aside too. Rinse out pot, dry, then over medium heat melt butter, add leeks and, stirring frequently, cook until they are softened but not browned, 5 to 10 minutes. 

Stir in potatoes and wine and continue cooking until potatoes start to soften and wine is evaporated, 5 to 10 minutes. Add enough clam broth to cover potatoes, plus thyme and bay leaf; partially cover and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 10 to 12 minutes. Meanwhile, remove clams from shells and dice; add them along with the half and half and ground pepper to the pot, bring back to a simmer but do not boil. Stir in parsley, ladle into bowls and serve hot with oyster crackers and corn on the cob.

Sage-Stuffed Roast Chicken

YIELD: Makes 8 servings


One 5-pound organic roasting chicken

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1 large bunch sage

1 lemon, halved and seeded

1 head garlic, halved horizontally

1/4 cup unsalted butter

2 large onions, coarsely chopped

4-6 carrots, sliced diagonally into chunks

15-18 small sprigs sage

1/4 cup olive oil


Preheat oven to 425 F. Remove giblets, neck and excess fat from chicken; rinse inside and outside under cold water and pat dry. Generously salt and pepper chicken cavity, then stuff cavity with large sprig of sage, lemon and garlic. Tie legs together with kitchen twine and tuck wing tips under the chicken. 

In a large bowl toss the onions and carrots with the small sage sprigs and olive oil and salt and pepper. Spread mixture on bottom of shallow roasting pan, then place chicken over them. Roast for an hour and a half, until a cut between thigh and leg yields clear juices; remove from oven and let rest about 15 minutes, then slice and serve with onions and carrots any liquid from pan spooned on top. Serve warm with roasted potatoes and a green vegetable such as Brussels sprouts or broccoli.