ROAST CHOOK WITH SAGE & ONION STUFFING & SPICED BUTTER
30 mins plus overnight resting (optional)
1 hr & 30 mins
1 tablespoon butter
1 small bunch sage, roughly chopped
2 large shallots, finely diced
6 cloves garlic, grated or finely grated
1 pinch (or 2 if you’re feisty) cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
½ cup red wine vinegar
juice of ½ lemon
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 whole chicken (we use Bostocks, they’re just the best)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 sprig rosemary
Quite possibly the ultimate shared meal. There’s nothing quite like a whole roast chicken, as cooking meat on the bone always creates the best flavour. Everyone has their favourite piece, breast or leg, white or brown meat; always remember though, the cook gets first dibs on the parson’s nose, it’s the law! Reserve the leftover frame for making the best homemade chicken stock.
Chop the onion and gently cook in the butter until soft and translucent, then leave to cool.
Put all ingredients for the stuffing into a mixing bowl, season with salt and pepper and mix well. Set aside.
You can make the butter while the chook is roasting.
Put the shallots and garlic in a small heavy-based pan with about 50g of the butter, the cayenne and paprika.
Cook gently on a low heat until the shallots soften and become translucent.
Add the vinegar and reduce it by two thirds.
Add the remaining ingredients and cook until the butter has come to a simmer.
Cool to room temperature.
If you somehow have any butter left it’s great for fried eggs.
If you have time, the day before you plan to cook rub some salt and pepper all over the chicken and store in the fridge covered loosely with paper towels.
One hour before you plan to start cooking, remove the chicken from the fridge and allow it to come up to room temperature.
Weigh the bird now to calculate the cooking time.
Heat oven to 210°C.
Stuff the cavity of the chicken with the stuffing, leaving a little room between the stuffing and the top of the chicken for air to circulate while cooking.
Rub the olive oil all over the chicken and season with salt and pepper (be generous, but add a little less if you seasoned the day before).
Tie the legs together with the sprig of rosemary – I like to make a small incision under the bone on each leg and thread the sprig through before tying a knot.
Line a roasting dish with baking paper and place the chicken in spine-side down, with the wings tucked under to form a natural trivet.
Roast the chook for 15 minutes at 210°C, then turn the temperature down to 180°C and roast for a further 20 minutes per 500g (for example 1.5kg bird will take 1hr 15 minutes in total).
Once cooked, if you have a probe or meat thermometer, the stuffing and the thickest part of the chicken should be 75°C. Or if you pierce the thickest part of the thigh with a skewer, the juices should run clear. The legs should also feel loose when you wiggle them.
Remove the chicken from the oven and, leaving it in the roasting dish, slather the skin with the spiced butter while the chicken is hot.
Cover loosely with a piece of foil and allow to rest for 15 minutes.
Now you can slice, chop or pull apart the chook however you prefer and dress with the melted butter and pan juices from the bottom of the roasting dish.