Nostalgia is the challenge for this homespun dish. To overcome it, chef Sean Moran seeks out the most wholesome, free-range chicken and best seasonal ingredients possible.
- 1.8 kg free-range chicken
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 cup (loosely packed) oregano leaves
- 100 gm unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 lemon, halved, juiced, halves reserved
- 1 tsp tomato paste
- 500 ml (2 cups) chicken stock
- 250 ml (1 cup) dry white wine
- 60 ml (¼ cup) extra-virgin olive oil
- Steamed corn and wilted seasonal greens and vegetables, to serve
- 100 gm fine cooking salt
- 50 gm caster sugar
- 4 juniper berries
- ½ tsp each mustard seeds, fennel seads and black peppercorns
- 500 ml (2 cups) milk
- 250 ml (1 cup) pouring cream
- 1 onion, thinky sliced
- 2 each cloves and bay leaves
- 8 flat-leaf parsley stalks
- ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 120 gm coarse fresh breadcrumbs
- 50 gm unsalted butter, chopped
- 1For brine, place salt, sugar and spices with 2 litres water in a large saucepan over high heat and stir until salt and sugar dissolve (6 minutes). Remove from heat, cool to room temperature, then refrigerate, stirring occasionally until brine is chilled (45 minutes). Submerge chicken in brine, weighing down with a plate if necessary. Refrigerate overnight.
- 2Place garlic and oregano in a mortar and pound with a pestle until a paste forms. Transfer to a bowl with butter and lemon juice. Season to taste and mix well to combine.
- 3Preheat oven to 200°C fan-forced. Remove chicken from brine (discard brine); drain and pat dry. Gently slide your fingers under the skin of the breast separating skin from the meat. Slide garlic and oregano butter under skin and stuff cavity of chicken with reserved lemon halves. Secure legs with kitchen string; place chicken in a roasting pan.
- 4Place tomato paste, stock and wine in a bowl and whisk to combine; pour over chicken. Drizzle chicken with oil and season to taste. Roast until chicken is golden and juices run clear when thickest part of a thigh is pierced (1 hr 20 minutes); rest, loosely covered with foil, for 20 minutes before serving.
- 5Meanwhile, for bread sauce, combine milk, cream, onion, spices, stalks and
bay leaves in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to low and cook, covered, until onion is soft (20 minutes). Strain through a fine sieve into a clean saucepan (discard solids). Bring to the boil and stir in breadcrumbs. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring frequently, until crumbs soften. Season to taste; stir in butter until combined.
- 6To serve, spoon bread sauce over base of serving plates. Carve chicken and place on top of sauce with steamed corn and wilted seasonal greens and vegetables, and drizzle with pan juices.