Make the most of the last of the winter vegetables because spring is in the air; before you know it you’ll be tucking into asparagus, Jersey Royals & gooseberries, and you may just miss the earthy honesty of the root veg.
This dish relies on the quality of the chicken, so buy the best you can and don’t overcook it.
1 free range chicken
knob of butter
2 cl garlic
- Preheat the oven to 220C
- Remove the wishbone; this makes carving so much easier, giving you even slices of breast.
- Rub the skin with olive oil and season with plenty of salt & pepper. This will permeate through the flesh as you baste during the cooking. The salt will also help to dry out the skin, making it crispy.
- Put a few aromatic flavours in the cavity. The flavour will be released as it cooks and run into the pan juices. It will then flavour the bird as you baste and flavour the gravy. I suggest 2 smashed cloves of garlic, half an onion, a bay leaf, a large sprig of thyme. Don’t over-fill the cavity as you want the heat to reach the inside.
- Pre-heat the (fan) oven to 220C but turn down to 180C as soon as you put the chicken in the oven. This will turn the skin a golden brown without drying out the flesh. An oven thermometer is a useful investment, as internal oven temperatures can vary a little from what the dial reads.
- Baste every 20 minutes. Adding the butter for the last 3o minutes. This will ensure the seasoning & aromatic flavours permeate throughout the bird and help to keep it moist.
- Time it accurately. There is no need to overcook chicken “just to be on the safe side”. Just check the weight and time it. 20 minutes and then a further 20 minutes for each 500g. So a 1.25kg bird should be roasted for 70 minutes.
- Rest it for 20 minutes.
- Resting is as important as cooking; the residual heat continues to permeate through to the centre of the bird and the juices are redistributed as the flesh relaxes.
Butternut squash puree
1 small butternut squash
splash olive oil
- Peel & cut the squash into large even pieces. Remove any seeds.
- Place in a baking dish, drizzle with oil, season & cover with foil.
- Bake in the oven (180C) until soft.
- Process in a liquidiser with all the cooking juice & the butter.
The root veg
- Cut the turnip, celeriac, swede, parsnip & carrot into even bite sized pieces. Blanche in boiling water for a few minutes, or until they are tender.
- Add to the chicken roasting dish for the last 30 minutes of cooking. Turning regularly so that they colour evenly.
1 cup white wine
large sprig of thyme
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup of cream
- Boil the white wine in a sauce pan & reduce to a syrup.
- Add the chicken stock & boil until reduced by half.
- Add the cream & the thyme & reduce to a nice sauce consistency.
- Pass through a fine sieve.
handful of chanterelles – cleaned
knob of butter
- Sauté the chanterelles in the butter for 1 minute, season & scatter over the plate.
2 large pototes
- Serve with fondant potato or if you prefer roasties just cut, blanche & cook with the chicken.