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Perfect match: spatchcock with a Rhône white

Australian Gourmet Traveller wine match recipe for spatchcock with 40 cloves of garlic.

By Alice Storey
  • Serves 4
  • 20 mins preparation
  • 50 mins cooking
Spatchcock with 40 cloves of garlic
Spatchcock with 40 cloves of garlic

If you want a white wine with plenty of perfume and loads of mouth-coating texture - all qualities you'll need for this aromatic, rich, classic French chook dish - then I would suggest heading to France's Rhône valley for inspiration, or to one of the growing number of Australian vineyards in which white Rhône grapes have been planted. Viognier, marsanne and roussanne are the best-known of these varieties, but the list of grapes that loosely fall under the Rhône heading also includes exotica such as grenache blanc, roussette and clairette. Viognier is the headiest, most exuberant and most powerful of them all; marsanne has a lovely freshness, a honeysuckle character, a savoury edge; and roussanne is the sturdiest-flavoured of the lot, less obviously aromatic and more intense. In the Rhône, as in Australia - and, indeed, across France's great sweeping southern vineyard lands - it's possible to find wines made solely from each of these varieties as well as wines that are blends of two, three or more of the grapes.

You needn’t travel all the way to France to find Rhône varietals worthy of this garlic-rich braise.

Ingredients

  • 4 spatchcock (500gm each; see note)
  • 1 lemon, quartered
  • 4 thyme sprigs
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 60 gm butter, coarsely chopped
  • 40 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 250 ml dry white wine
  • 250 ml chicken stock (1 cup)
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • To serve: steamed green beans

Method

Main
  • 1
    Preheat oven to 180C. Wash spatchcock under cold running water, then pat dry with absorbent paper. Place a lemon quarter and a sprig of thyme into the cavity of each and truss legs with kitchen string. Season to taste and set aside.
  • 2
    Heat oil in a large casserole over medium heat, add butter and, when it begins to foam, add garlic and stir occasionally until fragrant and golden (5-7 minutes). Add wine, stock and bay leaf, bring to the boil, then add spatchcock, cover and braise in oven until almost cooked through (25-30 minutes). Remove lid and roast until golden and sauce has reduced slightly (10-12 minutes). Season to taste and serve hot with steamed green beans.

Notes

Note Spatchcock are small chickens available from select butchers and the meat section of some major supermarkets. Drink suggestion by Max Allen