There are few things in life more welcoming than the scent of a roast chicken –
it has to be the ultimate comfort food, the sort of dish that brings people together around the kitchen table. This recipe for pot-roast chicken is good-mood food, and good-mood cooking, too. You just throw everything in the pot and let it roast away merrily. A wonderfully simple way to honour a whole bird.
1.5kg (3lb 5oz) free-range chicken
2 fennel bulbs, quartered
4 shallots, halved
4 garlic cloves, bashed
a small handful of bay leaves
a small handful of sage leaves
2 sprigs of rosemary
400ml (14fl oz) dry cider
500ml (18fl oz) chicken stock
pure sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.
Take a solid, lidded casserole dish and place it over a high heat. Generously oil and season the chicken with salt and pepper, making sure you also season the inside of the cavity. Place into the smoking hot casserole dish and carefully fry the chicken, moving it around in the dish with a pair of tongs. You want to get the outside of the skin lovely and brown – this will take 7–8 minutes.
To the casserole dish, add the fennel, shallots, garlic and herbs. Roast in the oven for 15 minutes.
Remove the casserole dish from the oven and add the cider and chicken stock, put the lid on and return to the oven for a further 45 minutes.
Remove the dish from the oven and carefully remove the whole chicken using a pair of tongs. Leave the bird to rest for 10 minutes. Taste the chicken and cider broth and adjust the seasoning as required.
Carve the chicken and serve with the braised fennel and broth. Enjoy with homemade aioli and a slice of sourdough bread.
Pipers Farm The Sustainable Meat Cookbook Recipes & Wisdom for Considered Carnivores by Abby Allen and Rachel Lovell, Kyle Books Photography by Matt Austin
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