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I remember when I cooked this chicken on MasterChef, giving important details like adding verjuice during the final stages of cooking and turning it over to rest for 20 minutes. It led to so much comment on email and social media, with people stopping me on the street, telling me they’d tried the recipe and couldn’t believe how wonderful it was. So enjoy!
Prep time 45 minutes
Cook time 70 minutes
- 2kg Barossa or other well-brought-up chook
- 125g unsalted butter, softened
- 1/3 cup french tarragon leaves
- sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tbsp verjuice*
- lemon wedges, to serve
- 1 head broccoli (about 360g)
- 1/3 cup baby spinach
- 3 spring onions
- 2/3 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1 cup finely chopped mint
- 1 large ripe avocado, cut into small cubes
- 1/3 cup (45g) slivered almonds, toasted
- 1 tbsp honey (raw, if possible)
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- finely grated zest and juice of ½ lemon
- ½ cup (125ml) buttermilk
Take the chook out of the refrigerator 1 hour before cooking to bring it to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 200˚C (fan-forced).
Place the butter and tarragon in a food processor and whiz to combine but don’t process it too much or the butter will split. Add seasoning to taste.
Place the chicken in a roasting tin and carefully slide your fingers under the skin around the legs and across both breasts to separate it from the meat. Place the butter under the skin by pushing it in with your fingers.
Tuck the wings under, then rub the skin with the olive oil and season to taste. Place a piece of foil just over the breast so it won’t dry out.
Roast for 30 minutes, then reduce temperature to 180˚C (fan-forced). Remove the foil and roast for another 30 minutes. Open the oven and pour the verjuice over the bird, then cook for another 10 minutes.
Remove the chicken from the oven and turn it over in the roasting tin to rest upside down for 20 minutes. After 5 minutes, check whether the chicken is cooked by inserting a skewer into the thickest part of the thigh – there should not be any pink juices. Alternatively, the internal temperature should be 68˚C.
Leave to rest for another 15 minutes (it will stay warm).
Meanwhile, to make the broccoli tabbouleh, as close as possible to serving, use a large knife to shave the head off the broccoli to give you fine pieces. Chop the spinach and spring onions as finely as you can and place in a bowl with the broccoli. Gently stir in the remaining ingredients.
To make the dressing, whisk all the ingredients together.
Carve the chook and drizzle with all of the resting juices. Just as you’re about to serve, toss the tabbouleh with most of the buttermilk dressing.
To serve, spoon the tabbouleh onto a large serving platter and pour over the last bit of dressing. Add the chook to the platter. Serve with the lemon wedges.
*Verjuice is available from most supermarkets
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