Prep 10 mins
Cook 1 hr
This is more about a technique for roasting chicken than the herbs involved. You could slather nearly any combination of butter and flavourings on top of your bird, using fresh or dried herbs, but it's the roasting in stages that results in the combination of wonderfully tender meat and crisp skin. This is slightly adapted from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's MEAT cookbook and the temperatures given are for a fan oven. Obviously if your bird is bigger or you don't have a fan oven you will have to make small adjustments in the times and temperatures.
- 2 kg whole chickens
- 100 g soft butter
- 1 teaspoon fennel seed, ground
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 1 leek, sliced or
- 1 onion, peeled and sliced
- 1⁄2 glass white wine
- salt & freshly ground black pepper
- Take any string or trussing off the bird and set in a roasting tray.
- Spread out its legs from the body so hot air can circulate around the bird and help it to cook more quickly.
- In a bowl, mix the butter, fennel and garlic along with a bit of salt and pepper.
- Mix well with your hands and then slather all over the bird's skin as well as a bit inside the cavity.
- Sprinkle the onions or leek around the bird.
- Place the chicken on the centre rack of a hot oven, about 210 C for 20 minutes.
- Baste the chicken and then turn the oven down to 180°C.
- Pour the wine in the roasting pan and return the chicken to the oven for 40 minutes.
- For the last phase, turn the oven off, leave the door slightly ajar and let the chicken rest for 20 minutes.
- By this time, you should be able to see clear juices if you pierce the chicken where the thigh meets the breast.
- I don't bother making gravy with this: the juices around the bird are flavourful enough on their own.