Epic Tarragon Roast Chicken
25.10.2023 - 12:23
/ Niamh Collins
Extracted from The Farm Table by Julius Roberts (Ebury Press, £27). Photography by Elena Heatherwick. Read our interview with Julius here.
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.
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
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