ROAST CHICKEN WITH PANCETTA AND THYME STUFFING

Well, it's a little longer between posts than I would like, but looking after a small human makes for very busy days and very early nights! If you're on Instagram, don't forget to follow me @juliaostro – I often post quick-fire recipes over there!

But with all that said, here we are and this recipe is one for lazy weekends with friends and family! Once the stuffing is made and the chicken is the oven, your work is done! The simple magic of a roast cannot be beaten!  

I made this for my Mum who had just arrived back from overseas. I thought it was the perfect welcome and personified home and all that she missed whilst away!  It’s a lovely thing to make when you’re just pottering around the house – even the most mundane house tasks are improved with the wafting scent of roast chicken. I added some quartered potatoes to roast in with the chicken too, as well as thick slices of lemon! The potatoes don’t crisp up a whole lot, as there is a bit of juice which is released from the chicken as it cooks. If you do want super crunchy potatoes, I would par boil them first before roasting, I however do like them a little soft and just burnished towards the end of cooking!

 

SERVES 4-6

 

FOR THE STUFFING

Extra virgin olive oil

½ red onion, finely chopped

3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

70g flat pancetta, cut into lardons

6 or so sprigs of thyme, leaves only, chopped

1tbsp flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped

Zest of one lemon and juice of half

15g flaked almonds

90g day-old bread, crusts removed and torn into small pieces

1 egg, lightly beaten

 

FOR THE CHICKEN

1 free –range chicken (approx. 1.8kg)

Knob of butter

Extra virgin olive oil

Juice of half a lemon

Sea salt

3 sprigs of thyme

Splash of white wine

OPTIONAL

1 lemon, cut into thick slices

5 potatoes, quartered

unnamed-1.jpg

 

1.     For the stuffing, heat a pan over a low flame. Splash a little olive oil into the pan and add the onion, garlic and pancetta. Slowly fry until onion and garlic is softened and pancetta is caramelised. Set aside in a bowl.

2.     Add the remaining ingredients and stir until combined. The mixture should be moist but not wet. Add a little milk or water if too dry or some more bread if too wet. Set mixture aside while you prepare the chicken.

3.     Preheat oven to 200C. Rinse the chicken, inside and out, and pat dry. Stuff the chicken with the pancetta and thyme mixture and close over the opening with the excess fat, which is at the opening of the chicken. Tie the legs together with kitchen string to fasten.

4.     Place the chicken in a large oven-proof dish. Rub the chicken with the butter and splash over a little olive oil and the lemon juice. Sprinkle generously with sea salt and the thyme leaves. Pour in a little white wine a the base ­ ­– this will create a nice sauce once the chicken has cooked!

5.     If cooking potatoes too, scatter the potatoes and lemon around the chicken. Drizzle with a little extra olive oil and salt. Cook chicken in the preheated oven until the juices of the chicken run clear (approximately 1 – 1.5 hours). Allow to rest for 10 or so minutes. While resting, I transfer the juices into a small jug and allow the fat to come to the top which I then spoon off before serving with the chicken. I usually serve the chicken simply with the potatoes and some sautéed cavolo nero or other greens.