Italian-herbed roast chicken
- July 2008
- 1 tbsp coriander seeds or 2 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tbsp fennel seeds or 2 tsp ground fennel seeds
- Bunch of fresh flatleaf parsley, leaves picked
- 1 long fresh rosemary sprig, leaves picked
- Bunch of fresh sage, leaves picked
- 1 tbsp sunflower oil
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1.6kg-1.8kg large free-range chicken, de-boned (ask your butcher to do this for you)
- 6 thin slices pancetta or streaky bacon, rind removed
- 2 small (about 140g each) free-range skinless chicken breasts
- 150ml dry white wine or verjuice
- Olive oil, for drizzling
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan160°C/gas 4. If using whole spices, finely grind them using a mortar and pestle. Transfer to a mini food processor (or continue to use the pestle and mortar) and whizz (or pound) together with the parsley, rosemary and sage leaves, sunflower oil and freshly ground black pepper, until you have a pesto-like paste.
- Lay the de-boned chicken, skin-side down on a board with the legs at the top. Spread the paste all over the chicken and lay the pancetta on top. Put the chicken breasts side-by-side in the centre and season all over with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Roll up the chicken from 1 of the sides tightly to enclose the filling. Tie the roll at 2cm intervals with kitchen string. Place in a 1 litre terrine or loaf tin (this will help it hold its shape), then pour over the wine or verjuice.
- Cover the whole tin with baking paper, then foil. Roast for 1 hour. Remove the paper and foil and roast for a further 30 minutes, until the juices run clear when pierced in the centre. Cool in the tin (this helps the chicken re-absorb the juices), then chill overnight.
- To serve, remove from the tin and thickly slice, drizzle with a little olive oil and season. Serve with the accompanying salads.
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