This is the dish to bring out once the party is in full swing - it'll fuel your guests into the wee hours. You can have all the components made ahead of time and assemble them when the time is right. Parker House rolls, invented at the Parker House Hotel in Boston, are a soft white oval roll popular in the 1920s.
- 1 lemon
- 120 gm softened butter
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped, plus 2 extra garlic cloves, bruised
- ½ cup finely chopped herbs such as thyme, basil, tarragon and flat-leaf parsley
- 2 chickens (about 1.8kg each)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- To serve: baby cress
Parker House rolls
- 14 gm dried yeast (2 sachets)
- 2 tbsp caster sugar
- 250 ml milk (1 cup)
- 50 gm butter, coarsely chopped, plus extra, melted, for brushing
- 500 gm plain flour (3 1/3 cups)
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1½ tbsp Dijon mustard
- 380 ml olive oil
- 1 tbsp lemon juice, or to taste
- 1 cup herbs, such as thyme, basil, tarragon and flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped (loosely packed)
- 1For Parker House rolls, combine yeast, half the sugar and 50ml warm water in a jug. Whisk to combine and set aside until starting to foam (5-7 minutes). Warm milk and butter in a saucepan over low heat until butter is melted and mixture is lukewarm (2-3 minutes). Combine flour, remaining sugar and 1 tsp fine sea salt in an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, add yeast mixture, then milk mixture, and knead until smooth (5-7 minutes). Transfer to a lightly buttered bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set aside until doubled in size (1 hour). Preheat oven to 180C. Knock back dough and roll into 12 even oval-shaped balls. Place on a 20cm x 20cm baking tray lined with baking paper and make an indentation with a chopstick or wooden spoon across the middle of each row of rolls. Cover with a tea towel and set aside until almost doubled in size (35-45 minutes). Brush rolls with butter, scatter with sea salt flakes, and bake until golden and hollow-sounding when tapped (20-25 minutes). Cool slightly on tray, then turn out and cool on a wire rack. Parker House rolls are best eaten on day of making.
- 2Meanwhile, finely grate lemon rind, transfer to a bowl and set aside. Quarter lemon, set aside. Beat butter, garlic, herbs and lemon rind to combine, season to taste. Carefully separate skin from breast of chicken and stuff with half the butter, pressing to evenly distribute; repeat with remaining chicken and butter. Divide lemon quarters and garlic cloves among chicken cavities, truss legs, place in a large roasting pan, drizzle with oil, season to taste and roast, basting occasionally, until golden and cooked through (1 hour 15 minutes-1 hour 25 minutes). Set aside to rest.
- 3Meanwhile, for herb mayonnaise, process yolks, vinegar and mustard in a food processor to combine. With motor running, add oil in a thin steady stream and process until thick and emulsified. Adjust consistency with lemon juice, season to taste, stir through herbs.
- 4Thinly slice roast chicken and serve with Parker House rolls, herb mayonnaise and cress.