Roast tarragon chicken with lemon, caper and olive salad
With the gong for best-smelling kitchen nailed before this meal's even served, set the stopwatch for the fastest-eaten-lunch fixture ...
Simply sensational roast tarragon chicken: Centrepiece for a lovely lunch or family dinner. Photo: William Meppem
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2kg free-range chicken
1 bunch flat-leaf parsley
200g unsalted butter, softened
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tbsp finely chopped tarragon leaves (keep the stems)
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
extra virgin olive oil
large handful fresh mint leaves
4 large anchovies, finely chopped
1/2 cup Ligurian olives
1 tsp salted baby capers, rinsed well and drained
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
TAKE THE CHICKEN out of the fridge at least two hours before cooking. Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced).
FINELY ZEST ONE LEMON and cut in half. Pick the parsley leaves from the stems (keep the stems for stuffing). Finely chop a third of the parsley leaves. Roughly chop the remaining parsley leaves and put aside for the salad.
IN A BOWL, add the softened butter with the lemon zest, garlic, the finely chopped parsley and tarragon and seasoning. Mix until thoroughly combined and adjust seasoning to taste.
USING YOUR HANDS, separate the skin from the breast and thigh meat, being careful not to tear the skin. Place butter mix between the meat and skin, covering the entire breast and thigh areas. Season inside the cavity, squeeze in the juice from the zested lemon, then stuff the cavity with the squeezed lemon halves and herb stems. Truss the chicken and rub with a little oil and seasoning. Place on a baking tray, sitting on one side.
ROAST THE CHICKEN for about 20 minutes, then turn onto the other side for another 20 minutes. Finally, place it on its back and roast for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and rest for 15 minutes.
SEGMENT THE OTHER LEMON and tear the mint leaves into small pieces. Place in a bowl with the anchovies, olives, capers olive oil, plus the roughly chopped parsley, and season well.
REMOVE THE LEMONS from chicken cavity and squeeze any juice onto the salad, along with the juices in the bottom of the roasting pan. Mix together and serve immediately with the roast chicken.
Leftovers: Serve with Neil Perry's witlof and leek gratin, or with some cooked penne pasta for a substantial Sunday lunch.
Photography by William Meppem. Styling by Hannah Meppem. Food preparation by Nick Banbury.