Serves 4

This recipe consists of roasting the breasts on the crown and braising the legs to create the sauce. You will however need to know how to break down the chicken, if you don’t there’s always YouTube.

I served it with blanched asparagus finished with a toss through of the chicken cooking juices, roasted new potatoes and braised baby gem lettuce and peas but the veg choice is yours.

1 large, whole chicken
1 large onion, finely diced
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced as thinly as possible
1 bunch thyme
1 lemon
1/2 a thumb sized piece of ginger, finely grated
4 bay leaves
150 ml white wine
500 ml chicken stock, can use the stock pots from the supermarket dissolved in water
1 tsp white pepper
6 Sage leaves
Unsalted butter

Start by breaking down the chicken. Firstly, remove the legs and separate them into thighs and drumsticks. Now make up a marinade for them. Into a bowl finely grate the lemon zest, pick 1/4 of the bunch of thyme and add to the lemon zest. Add one of the garlic cloves and enough olive oil to just combine the lot. Toss through the drumsticks and thighs and if possible leave to marinate overnight. If not a minimum of 2 hours.

Now prepare the breasts/crown. Loosen the skin away from the flesh with your fingers and stuff in a generous amount of butter, the sage leaves, 2 more of the garlic cloves and a few sprigs of thyme. Finish by putting a slice of lemon (under the skin still) on top of both breasts. This can also sit in th fridge overnight whilst the leg meat marinades.

On the day of roasting place the chicken crown (breasts) into a baking tray, drizzle with a generous amount of olive oil and season well with Maldon salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Cover with parchment paper and then wrap tightly with tin foil. Put into the oven on the middle shelf at 180* fan. The chicken should take around 1 hour. After 40 minutes, remove the foil and parchment paper and baste it well with the cooking juices that will be released. Leave uncovered and return to the oven to crispen up for the remaining 20 minutes. Cooking times are dependant on the size of the bird so always check it’s cooked by inserting a knife into the meat around the wishbone and ensure the juices flow out clear.

As soon as the crown goes in to roast start to braise the legs. Heat a frying pan large enough to hold all of the meat and gently cook the thighs and drumsticks until they’re a nice even browned colour, then remove from the pan.

In a separate saucepan (again large enough to eventually be able to hold all of the leg meat) melt a generous amount of butter with a drizzle of olive oil and sweat down the onion until soft. Add the rest of the garlic (1 clove), the grated ginger and chop the remaining thyme and add to the pan. Sweat for a further 3-5 minutes on a medium heat to cook the garlic and ginger.

Add the bay leaves and increase the heat to high. Pour in the wine and reduce by 3/4. Add the chicken stock, white pepper and a pinch or two of maldon salt. Add the thighs and drumsticks and cover with a lid. If you’ve got an ovenproof saucepan then put it into the oven for around 35 minutes. If you haven’t then simply cover with a lid and simmer on a low heat on the hob.

Once the thighs and drumsticks are cooked, (again always check the meat as cooking times vary depending on size) remove them from the liquid and put the liquid back onto the hob. On a high heat reduce the liquid by 1/2. By now it should be tasting pretty good, if not reduce a little further. Once your happy with the flavour chuck in another generous knob of butter, around 50g and check the seasoning. Thicken the sauce with some cornflour dissolved in cold water. Return the thighs and drumsticks to the sauce to reheat fully, cover and leave on the lowest heat until ready to serve.

Once the crown has been roasted allow it to rest for up to 30 minutes, covered with foil to retain its heat. Serve one piece of leg meat, either thigh or drumstick and half a breast per person. Jug up the sauce and serve the whole lot with your favourite vegetables.

CST Elephant