The Best Roast Chicken Ever
This is a bold claim, I know. But you haven’t tasted this chicken yet… I am one of many who feel that roast chicken is what the soul of a home would look, smell and taste like. I love it simply done with lemon and rosemary, I love it with a thousand garlic cloves slow-cooking alongside it, I love it hot or cold.
This recipe is what I would call the golden Mercedes of roast chickens. It’s a little more fiddly than simply bunging a beautiful bird in the oven with half an onion up its cavity and a grind of pepper over the top, but when you’ve tried it, you’ll understand what I’m on about …
|1||small free-range chicken, weighing around 1.2kg|
|For the stuffing:|
|1 tbsp||olive oil|
|200g||wild mushrooms (ceps, girolles or chanterelles), roughly chopped|
|Freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon|
|2 tbsp||parsley, finely chopped|
|1||stick fresh lemongrass, very finely sliced|
|2 tbsp||fresh tarragon, finely chopped|
|2||garlic cloves, peeled and minced to a pulp|
|2||slices prosciutto, finely chopped|
|1 tbsp||half-fat crème fraîche|
|Salt and pepper|
Preheat the oven to 160°C/325°F/gas mark 3.
Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan until really hot, then add the mushrooms and fry until they are golden. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, mix together all the stuffing ingredients, including the warm mushrooms. Taste, then season thoroughly with pepper and a little salt.
Next, run your fingers between the skin and flesh of the chicken, starting with the breasts and ending up with the legs. Be gentle as you separate the skin from the flesh — you need to avoid ripping the skin.
Spread the stuffing generously all over the flesh of the bird, securing it with the skin so that none runs out. I find it helps to tie the legs together.
Put the chicken in a baking tray at the bottom of the oven and cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Rest for 15 minutes before serving and spoon the juices over as gravy.
With such a full-flavoured dish, I would normally serve baby baked potatoes in their skins and finish it off with a simple Salade Verte with almost no dressing.
The trick to this recipe is to use a small chicken for four people but to pack it with so much flavour that you don't notice that you're not having that much meat. By the time you've had mushrooms and herbs and all the other flavourings inside the stuffing, you need less meat.
332 calories per serving.