Roast chicken with sourdough bread sauce and gravy
- April 2014
- Serves 6
- Hands-on time 40 min, simmering time 1¾ hours, oven time 1-1¼ hours
Jason Atherton demonstrates how to make proper roast chicken with sourdough bread sauce and all the glorious trimmings.
- 39.5g (21.7g saturated)
- 11.3g (4.9g sugars)
- 75g butter, softened
- 1 bunch fresh thyme, leaves chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1.8kg free-range chicken, at room temperature
- Vegetable oil for drizzling
- 6 large banana shallots, halved, root ends left on
- 6 fresh sage leaves
- Good splash dry white wine
For the sourdough bread sauce
- 25g butter
- 1 shallot, sliced
- 200ml whole milk
- 400ml double cream
- 2 cloves
- 100g sourdough bread, torn into small pieces
For the chicken gravy
- 1kg chicken wings
- Knob of butter
- 2 shallots, very finely chopped
- 2 carrots, finely chopped
- ½ leek, finely sliced
- 1 bay leaf
- Bunch fresh thyme
- 100ml dry white wine
- 2 litres light, fresh chicken stock
- Heat the oven to 200°C/fan180°C/gas 6. For the gravy, roast the chicken wings in a large tin for 30 minutes or until golden. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large heavy-based pan and fry the shallots, carrots and leek with the bay leaf and thyme for 15 minutes until soft and golden, stirring frequently. Add the roasted wings to the pan along with the wine. Turn up the heat and bubble until almost all the liquid has evaporated, then add the stock. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 1 hour. Strain (see tips), return the liquid to the pan, then bubble briskly until reduced to around 250ml and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon (about 45 minutes). Leave to cool, then skim off any fat that rises to the top.
- For the chicken, mix the 75g butter with the thyme and garlic. Starting from the neck cavity, work your hand under the breast skin to loosen, then push the herb butter under it. Drizzle a little oil over the skin, then season generously. Put the chicken in a roasting tin with the shallots and sage leaves around it. Splash the wine over the shallots and season. Roast for 15 minutes. Turn the oven down to 180°C/fan160°C/gas 4 and roast for a further 45-60 minutes until the skin is crisp, the chicken is cooked through and the shallots are tender, golden and starting to caramelise.
- Meanwhile, make the bread sauce. Melt the butter in a saucepan and fry the shallot for 5 minutes or until soft. Add the milk, cream and cloves, then bring to the boil. Take the pan off the heat and add the bread. Leave for a moment to soften a little.
- Transfer to a blender and whizz (including the cloves) until smooth. Taste, season and set aside.
- Remove the chicken from the oven to a carving board, along with the shallots, leaving the juices in the tin. Loosely cover the bird with foil and rest for 15 minutes in a warm place.
- Meanwhile, strain off any fat and add the juices from the tin to the chicken gravy (see tips). Carve the chicken and serve with the shallots, bread sauce and gravy.
Once you’ve simmered the chicken wings and strained the stock, leave the wings to cool, then strip them of their meat. There won’t be a huge amount, but it’s good for curries or soup.
Make a simpler but less intense gravy from the juices left in the roasting tin. Stir in a little flour, cook for 2-3 min, then simmer with some wine and a good splash of stock. Reduce to desired thickness, season, then strain and serve.
Make the gravy and freeze in sealed containers for up to 3 months. Defrost and heat when ready to serve.
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