Question: I would like to serve Fowl in Dough as it is prepared at Seasons in Savannah, Ga. It's very special, so please try to get the recipe.
- Charlotte Kaufmann,Augusta, Ga.
Answer: For a wee bit o'fun, foolery and shamrock shenanigans, slip into any shade of green and join revelers in Savannah on River Street, in City Market and along Bay Street for merrymaking that culminates with the St. Patrick's Day Parade on March 17. Savannahians celebrate the Irish holiday in honor of St. Patrick, and the impact that Irish immigration has had upon the culture of Savannah. By the mid-19th century, nearly 70 percent of foreigners in Savannah were Irish.
Amazingly, St. Patrick was not actually Irish. Maewyn Succat, born around 373 A.D. in Scotland or in Roman Britain, was kidnapped at the age of 16 by pirates and sold into slavery in Ireland. In captivity he worked as a shepherd, surviving on the strength of his faith until a voice in a religious vision told him where he could find the ship that would enable him to escape to France. Succat took the name Patrick after he became a priest. Later he returned to Ireland to spread the Christian word, using the shamrock, which resembles a three-leafed clover, as a metaphor to explain the concept of the Trinity (father, son and Holy Spirit).
Everyone wants the good luck that results from finding a four-leaf clover or kissing the blarney stone - a stone set in the wall of the Blarney Castle tower in the Irish village of Blarney, which is supposed to bring the kisser the gift of persuasive eloquence (blarney). Without a reservation during Savannah's March festivities, no amount of Irish luck will secure a table at Seasons, or a bite of fork-tender fowl cooked in a dough "oven." A word of caution: While the golden brown, crusty "oven" looks delicious, it is not edible!
FOWL IN DOUGH `OVEN'
5 cups flour
5 cups kosher salt
1 tablespoon chopped, fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped, fresh sage
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
2 cups water
1 (4- to 5-pound) roasting chicken
1 small lemon
3 garlic cloves
4 sage leaves
1 rosemary "stem" with leaves
2 tablespoons finely ground black pepper
Dough: In large bowl or mixer, combine flour, kosher salt, rosemary, sage and garlic. With mixer set at lowest speed, gradually add water and beat until dough becomes stiff. Place dough on lightly floured board and roll to a 3/4-inch thickness in a circle approximately 24 inches in diameter - or large enough to encase the fowl.
Fowl: Wash and dry fowl. Set aside. Score the lemon 5 to 6 times. Place lemon, garlic, sage and rosemary in the cavity of the fowl, and enclose by overlapping skin flaps and securing with a toothpick.
Rub the outside of the fowl thoroughly with the black pepper.
Place the fowl in the center of the dough circle, sealing it carefully with no openings (pinch the seams). Roast on an open broiling pan that has been dusted with breadcrumbs or lined with waxed paper to prevent sticking. Roast 4 hours in a preheated 350-degree oven. Ten minutes before cooking time is complete, brush dough with oil and elevate temperature to 400 degrees. If the dough tends to darken too rapidly during cooking, tent with foil.
Remove from oven and, with a serrated knife, carefully cut a circular opening in the top of the dough "oven." Serve fowl at the table from the dough "oven" container. Remember, the dough is not edible!