Saturday, March 20, 2010

Roast chicken with wild garlic

Serves 4

Wild garlic, sometimes found as ramsons, is starting to show up around now. It has all the silkiness of spinach leaves and a soft scent of young garlic. The leaves appear in the wild in early spring but can increasingly be found in farmers markets too. Any garlic stall will have them for the next few weeks. I think at this early stage they can be wonderfully floral without showing too much pungency as full blown garlic often can.

A good-sized chicken for roasting (about 1.5kg)
50g butter
olive oil
1 lemon
a couple of bay leaves
a glass of white wine
A good handful of wild garlic leaves per person

Set the oven at 200C/gas mark 6. Mash the butter with a little olive oil and a generous seasoning of salt and pepper. Massage it into the skin of the chicken. Cut the lemon in half and tuck them inside the bird with a bay leaf or two.

Roast the chicken for about an hour till the skin is golden and the juices run clear. (Pierce the chicken at its thickest point, if the juices have blood in them, continue cooking. If they run clear it is ready.)

Remove the chicken to a warm place and let it rest, covered loosely with foil. Put the roasting tin over a low gas; when the roasting juices start to bubble pour in the wine and scrape at any pan-stickings so they dissolve into the juices.

Throw in the garlic leaves, stirring into the hot juices so that they start to wilt and soften. Check the seasoning then serve the juices and softened garlic with slices of the roast chicken.