Hindle Wakes, or Hen de la Wake, is a very old English dish. The wake was originally a church feast but it later de- generated into a fair, traditionally held on All Saint’s Night. The chicken was cooked before the fair or ‘wake’ and was produced the night. This old tradition is still carried on in parts of the north of England.
6 lb. chicken
1 large onion, quartered
5 fl. oz. vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 oz. fresh white breadcrumbs
12 oz. prunes, soaked overnight, stoned and coarsely chopped
2 oz. shredded beef suet
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon dried thyme juice of
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
6 parsley sprigs
1 lemon, quartered
10 prunes, soaked overnight, stoned, halved and cooked
First, prepare the stuffing. In a large mixing bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, chopped prunes, suet, parsley, thyme, lemon juice, cinnamon, salt and pepper with a fork.
Stuff the mixture into the chicken and carefully secure the opening with trussing thread and a needle or skewers.
Place the stuffed chicken in a large saucepan and just cover it with water. Add the onion, vinegar and sugar. Place the pan over high heat and bring to the boil.
Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan and simmer gently for 1.5 to 2 hours, or until the chicken is tender.
Remove the pan from the heat and leave the chicken to cool in the liquid.
When cold, remove the chicken from the pan and place it on a serving dish. Garnish it with the parsley sprigs, lemon quarters and prune halves.