"This is a typical farmhouse roast chicken, with extra farmhouse," says Louis Couttoupes of Canberra's Bar Rochford. "It can be made with a whole chicken, or as individual spatchcock, but either way, baste the birds in the juices during cooking for maximum flavour." Begin this recipe a day ahead to soak the hay, infuse the spatchcock and prepare the tarragon butter.
- 200 gm (2 large handfuls) oaten hay (see note)
- 2 (500gm each) spatchcock
- 1 cup (loosely packed) thyme
- 1 cup (loosely packed) tarragon leaves
- 100 gm butter, softened
- 140 ml vegetable oil
- 15 ml pastis or other aniseed liquor
- Lemon cheeks, to serve
- 1Wash hay, then soak in clean water for 10 minutes. Drain, shaking out excess water. Season spatchcock cavities with salt, then stuff with the thyme and one-quarter of the hay each. Refrigerate uncovered overnight to allow flavours to penetrate the meat and for the skin to dry out a little.
- 2Blanch tarragon in a saucepan of salted boiling water (10 seconds). Drain, refresh in iced water, then drain well squeezing excess moisture from leaves. Add to a small food processor with butter and process until bright green. With the motor running, slowly add pastis and 100ml oil and season to taste with salt. Chill overnight.
- 3Preheat oven to 250°C. Season spatchcock all over and heat remaining oil in 2 ovenproof frying pans over medium heat. Brown spatchcock on all sides (2-4 minutes each side), remove from pans, then add a handful of soaked hay to each. Return spatchcock to pans, breast-side up, transfer to oven and roast until juices run clear when a thigh is pierced with a skewer (12-15 minutes). Serve spatchcock on hay with lemon cheeks and a generous dollop of tarragon butter.
Oaten hay is available from pet shops.Drink suggestion: A fruit-forward French gamay such as the 2016 Marcel Joubert Beaujolais-Villages. Drink suggestion by Nick Smith.