Vampire Chicken with Blood Braise

Total Time:
2 hr 30 min
1 hr 10 min
Inactive Prep:
1 hr 20 min
6 servings


  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons Essence, recipe follows
  • 1 (4-pound) chicken, giblets removed and rinsed well
  • Cedar stake, see below for details
  • Olive oil, for browning sausage, plus extra for roasting
  • 3 pounds hot Italian sausage links (still attached, if possible)
  • 1 pint pearl onions, peeled
  • 1 cup stemmed shiitake mushrooms, cleaned
  • 1 cup whole crimini mushrooms, cleaned
  • 1 cup oyster mushrooms, cleaned
  • 1 pound baby carrots, tops trimmed, peeled
  • 1 bunch red baby beets, tops removed
  • 1 whole head garlic, separated into cloves and peeled
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups red wine
  • 3/4 cup beet juice
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon chopped thyme leaves


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Remove 1 oven rack and place the other at the bottom of the oven.

Mix the softened butter and Essence together to make a paste. Rub the paste all over the chicken and under the skin of the breast. Set aside.

Place a large roasting pan over 2 burners on the stove and heat over medium-high heat. Add enough olive oil to lightly coat the bottom of the pan. When the oil is hot, add the sausage links, still attached in a coil. Brown on both sides, about 3 minutes per side.

Remove from the heat and create a space in the center of the sausage coil that is large enough to fit the cedar stake and the chicken.

Place the chicken on the stake and place in the center of the sausage. Add the onion, mushrooms, carrots, baby beets, and garlic around the sausage. Drizzle with olive oil. Add rosemary, thyme, and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 1 hour or until the chicken and sausage is cooked through. Check after 30 minutes to make sure there is still sufficient liquid in the pan. If the pan is dry, add a little chicken stock or water.

While the chicken is cooking, in a saucepan, combine the red wine, beet liquid, cream, and Dijon and reduce by 1/2, about 15 minutes. Stir in the thyme. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.

Remove the chicken (still on the stake) from the pan and place in the center of a large platter. Surround with the sausage, garlic, and vegetables.

Ladle the sauce into a goblet or gravy boat and serve with the chicken.

Cedar Stake:
1 (1 by 6 by 36-inch) untreated, food-safe cedar plank

From the piece of cedar cut a base of 6 to 7 inches.
From the remaining plank cut a 7 to 8-inch piece. Cut this lengthwise approximately 1 1/2 inches wide. This will form your stake. At 1 end, make 2 diagonal cuts to form a point at the top of the stake.

Nail or screw the stake to the base by putting nail or screw through base and into the stake. Make sure to use stainless steel nails or screws and sanitize them in boiling water before using.

Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container.

Yield: about 2/3 cup