There is nothing quite as satisfying as roasting a chicken. When you get it right and the flesh is white and juicy, the skin crisp and golden, nothing can top it.
When I cooked this, I didn’t fancy the traditional meat, two veg and gravy shabang with Christmas round the corner. I adapted a recipe from Riverford farm that looked like it would give me the bronzed chickeny goodness I wanted without the heavy wintery flavours. For those of you who have never been to Riverford, you should. It’s absolutely brilliant. The farm grows and supplies organic seasonal veg boxes all over the country. It also offers interesting tours around its grounds which can finish in a delicious seasonal dinner on shared tables. To give you an idea, the current January menu is as follows:
- grilled rump steak with purple sprouting broccoli + mustard hollandaise
- creamed parsnips
- jerusalem artichokes + mushrooms in a bag with goat’s cheese
- beetroot gratin
1 onion, finely chopped,
450g courgettes, grated
1 Capricorn goat’s cheese
1 sprig of thyme, rosemary and sage
Juice of 1/2 lemon
And stuffed it in a 1.5 kg bird (for about 3-4 people).
Firstly sweat the onion in the butter until translucent, add the herbs (finely chopped, all stalks removed) and courgette and heat until the courgette is wilted. Allow to cool before adding the lemon juice and cubed goats cheese. I had the pleasure of stuffing the mixture under the skin of the breast and in the legs, being careful not to leave anything on top for fear of it burning. Make sure you cover this with foil until the final 15 minutes of cooking time during which the skin can brown. The cooking time will depend on the size of the chicken, so make sure you check its instructions.
The result should be rich, moist and flavourful; you won’t need anything heavy to go with this as the flavours are strong so do not make a gravy/sauce. Simply serve with a salad, dressing of your choice and some bread to mop up the cheesy stuffing.