There is not much that is remarkable about roasting a chicken, is there? You buy a free-range or organic bird from a reputable supplier, get it to room temperature, add some flavourings inside or out, brush the skin with some oil and pop it into an indoor or outdoor oven for an hour or so. Then you carve it and serve it with your preferred sides.
That said, Maggie and I feel blog-worthy pleasure if we roast a chicken in mid-Spring, when our herb garden is at its peak. So it was that, on Saturday, we bought a Bannockburn chicken and prepared a stuffing that was light on breadcrumbs and big on chopped herbs.
We took some sprigs from our rosemary, sage, thyme and parsley plants and snipped some fresh chives. Maggie chopped them using her easy-on-the-wrists mezzaluna knife and added them to a lesser quantity of sour dough breadcrumbs in a mixing bowl. Then we added a small amount of roughly-chopped prosciutto, a teaspoon of Dijon mustard, a long grind of black pepper and an egg yolk (the white makes the stuffing too heavy after cooking). Once this was all mixed well, we added just enough olive oil to give the stuffing a light gloss.
Before the stuffing went into the cavity, Maggie rubbed it generously with the flesh of a piece of our home-made, home-grown preserved lemons. Then she rubbed the outside of the chicken with olive oil and seasoned it generously before it went into the Weber Q just after we had lit the gas. (This is my preferred technique for cooking a stuffed chicken, to ensure that the meat nearest the cavity cooks properly; it sounds anal but it works!)
We served the chicken with some roasted Dutch carrots and baby turnips bought that morning at the Collingwood Farmers’ Market, and a dressed salad of shredded baby cos leaves and diced avocado.
Our tarragon plant has recently emerged from its long hibernation and will find its way to a chicken cavity in the next month or so, among a variety of destinies for what the French call “the king of herbs”. More of that anon.