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Julius Roberts’ Epic Tarragon Roast Chicken

by Julius Roberts from The Farm Table

With juicy meat, crispy golden skin and a ton of moreish tarragon and mustard cream sauce, this appropriately named 'epic' chicken will impress at your next Sunday roast.

From the book

Julius Roberts

Introduction

There are recipes in this book that I love because they are interesting, there are those that I love for their simplicity, and there are those that I find myself making again and again. This is the latter, a great roast chicken, the heart of home cooking and one of life’s great pleasures. I relish the ritual, my family’s fight over the wings, the secret chef’s treats of the oysters, the leftover sandwiches and bubbling stocks. There is no meal that makes me feel more at home. In my mind, there are three keys to a good roast chicken … juicy meat, brown salty skin and most importantly a ton of sauce. And it’s the sauce of this chicken that really sets it apart: handfuls of tarragon, lashings of cream and a proper dollop of mustard, which when combined with the cooking juices, garlic and wine creates a truly epic mouthful.

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Ingredients

1 organic chicken
3 tbsp olive oil
1 whole head garlic
250ml quality double cream
a 20g bunch of fresh tarragon, stalks removed, roughly chopped
1 large heaped tbsp Dijon mustard
a glass of dry white wine

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Method

Preheat your oven to 220°C fan and start by spatchcocking the chicken. To do this, turn it over and cut along one side of the spine from the tail to the neck. Then turn it over, open out the two sides and press down hard to flatten it. Your butcher will gladly do this for you. Lay the chicken in a large, high-sided roasting tray, season generously with salt on both sides and leave for an hour at room temperature so it loses the chill of the fridge.

When ready, generously drizzle the skin with olive oil and work it into all the nooks and crannies. Smash the head of garlic and hide the cloves underneath the chicken, then roast in the oven for 20–30 minutes, until the skin begins to turn golden brown. Meanwhile, mix the cream, tarragon and mustard in a bowl and season well with salt and pepper. After 20–30 minutes, turn the oven down to 140°C fan, take out the chicken and pour a generous glass of white wine into the tray. Then pour the tarragon cream all over the chicken and place back in the oven for 30–40 minutes until it’s ready. To judge when it’s cooked, I check the deepest part of the thigh with a temperature probe, looking for 65–70°C. If you don’t have one, prod this point with a skewer and ensure the juices run clear. At this point, remove from the oven and leave to rest for 15 minutes, covered loosely with a bit of foil. Carve straight into the tray and serve as you like, with lots of the sauce, garlic and a zingy green salad.

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From the book: The Farm Table

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