This wonderfully tasty and quick-to-make meal is a great fall-back recipe for yourself, family or friends that is sure to please everyone who tucks into it.
Based on a recipe by Australian restaurateur Bill Granger from the March 2012 issue of UK Delicious Magazine, it has been adapted by mio marito to suit his flamboyent taste buds and to take advantage of the wonderful herbs that fluorished in our garden despite the admittedly lightweight winter we had this year.
The original recipe calls for a whole chicken to be cut up into eight pieces, but my resident masterchef de-bones the bird, adds far more herbs and spices as well as mushrooms and slivers of sun-dried tomatoes.
An alternative to de-boning and entire chicken is to use 1kg of a cut called Supreme de Poulet (chicken breast and shoulder) that you might have to pre-order at the counter if you don’t find it already pre-packaged. Be sure to keep the skin on the pieces as this adds flavor to the dish.
We’ve also taken to replacing chicken with pintade (guinea fowl), which has become more prevalent at our local Manor grocery store. It has a deeper, meatier flavour but is every bit as juicy as chicken. It’s usually available pre-packaged.
Roast Chicken with bacon, shallots, chili & thyme
1.5kg free-range chicken, de-boned and cut into good size pieces*
15 shallots, peeled (cut the larger ones into halves lengthwise)
4 garlic cloves, diced
200g smoked bacon, diced
4-5 fresh rosemary sprigs (reserve some for decoration)
A fistful of thyme sprigs
1Tbsp dried chili flakes
1 medium red chili pepper (not bird’s eye or similarly hot), cut into slivers
3Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
250ml dry white wine
A handful of button mushrooms (champignons de Paris), sliced
3-4 sun-dried tomatoes, slivered
Freshly-ground salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 240C (fan 220C)
1. Place the chicken pieces in a large roasting tin and scatter on top the bacon bits, shallots, thyme, rosemary, chili flakes and mushrooms, then pour over the olive oil, season with salt and pepper and mix to make sure everything is evenly coated.
2. Roast for 20 minutes
3. Add the wine and the sun-dried tomatoes
4. Roast for a further 20-25 minutes or until the chicken is golden brown**
Serve with crusty bread, a salad or whichever vegetables are in season
*The smaller the pieces, the quicker the meat cooks, so adjust the cooking time accordingly to avoid it becoming dry
** Final cooking time also depends on how tightly the chicken pieces are placed in the roasting tin (the tighter the pieces, the longer the time).
Tip: This dish can be prepared the night before and refrigerated until ready to roast. It tastes just as good, if not better, when reheated.