This dish is simple to prepare, yet full of amazing flavours, and the chicken is super-succulent when cooked in this manner. We've paired it with a crisp salad of lettuce hearts drizzled with melted butter, lemon and garlic, but if you're feeling less indulgent, a vinaigrette-dressed salad would do just fine.
- 1 chicken (1.8kg), at room temperature
- 1 garlic head, halved horizontally, plus 4 extra cloves, finely chopped
- 1 bunch each tarragon and thyme, plus extra tarragon leaves to serve
- 30 gm butter, coarsely chopped
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 100 gm speck, cut into batons
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 200 gm long-grain rice (1 cup)
- 120 ml dry vermouth
- 500 ml hot chicken stock (2 cups)
- 150 gm small Swiss brown mushrooms, halved
- 2 fresh bay leaves
Buttered lettuce salad
- 2 baby cos lettuce, tough outer leaves discarded, hearts quartered
- 50 gm butter, coarsely chopped
- ½ garlic clove, finely chopped
- Finely grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
- 1Preheat oven to 200C. Rinse chicken inside and out under cold running water, pat dry with absorbent paper and season inside and out. Stuff with garlic head, tarragon and thyme (reserve 3 sprigs of each), tuck wings under and tie legs together with kitchen string.
- 2Heat 20gm butter in a casserole over medium heat, add chicken, turn occasionally until browned on all sides (4-5 minutes), remove chicken and set aside.
- 3Add oil, onion, speck and chopped garlic to casserole, stir occasionally until just tender (3-4 minutes), add rice and stir to coat. Add vermouth and simmer until reduced by half (1-2 minutes). Add stock, mushrooms, bay leaves and reserved herbs, top with chicken, bring to the simmer. Cover with a tightly fitting lid, bake until chicken is cooked through and rice is tender (35-40 minutes). Remove from oven and stand, without removing lid, for 10 minutes.
- 4Meanwhile, for buttered lettuce salad, arrange lettuce hearts on a serving plate. Stir butter, garlic and lemon rind in a small saucepan over low heat until bubbling and fragrant (1 minute). Remove from heat, add lemon juice, season to taste and set aside. Just before serving, drizzle butter mixture over lettuce hearts.
- 5To serve, remove chicken from casserole, tipping chicken so its juices run into the rice. Carve chicken and serve hot with rice mixture, scattered with extra tarragon, and salad.
Drink Suggestion: Perfumed, heady viognier or marsanne. Drink suggestion by Max Allen
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