Hairy Recipe: Roast Chicken with a Pistou Stuffing
1 x 1.5-1.8 chicken, giblets removed and trussed
A sprig of thyme
A sprig of parsley
A sprig of tarragon
½ a lemon
1 tbsp olive oil
100ml white wine or Vermouth
For the stuffing
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Zest of 1 lemon
A small bunch of basil, leaves only
A small bunch of parsley, leaves only
A few sprigs of tarragon, leaves only
1 tbsp olive oil
Ideally, prepare your chicken the day before you want to cook it. Remove it from its packaging, sprinkle it with fine sea salt in the cavity and on the skin, then place on a plate, cover loosely with kitchen towel and leave in the fridge over night. Take it out of the fridge an hour before you want cook it, so it can warm to room temperature.
When you have removed the chicken from the fridge preheat the oven to 220C and make the stuffing. Put the couscous in a bowl and cover with 60ml just boiled water. Cover and leave to stand. Toast the pine nuts in a dry frying pan until they are a light golden brown and smelling aromatic, then crush these very lightly with a pestle and mortar – they should be quite coarse in texture with some large pieces.
Fluff up the couscous with a fork and add the pine nuts, garlic and lemon. Finely chop the herbs and stir these through. Season with salt and pepper, then drizzle with olive oil and add the egg. Mix thoroughly. Spoon the stuffing into the chicken. Weigh the chicken when you have added the stuffing to it and work out its roasting time – you need to add 20 minutes for every 500g to the initial 15 minute sizzle time at the beginning.
Put the sprigs of thyme, tarragon and parsley in a roasting tin and place the chicken on top. Squeeze over the lemon juice. Put the squeezed lemon half in the cavity if there is room for it. Drizzle over the olive oil. Add the white wine or vermouth to the tin, along with 100ml water.
Roast in the oven for 15 minutes, then turn the heat down to 180C and roast for the time you worked out. You can test for doneness in a variety of ways. If you have a probe or meat thermometer, the stuffing and the thickest part of the chicken should be 75C. If you pierce the thickest part of the thigh, the juices should run clear. The legs should also feel loose when you wiggle them.
Remove the bird from the tin, cover with foil and keep warm whilst it rests. Pour off the tin juices into a small saucepan and spoon off any fat. Once the chicken has rested for 15 minutes, add any further juices to the saucepan. Bring these to the boil and simmer for 3-4 minutes, then serve poured over the chicken.