This French recipe calls for you to get your hands dirty, but it’s well worth it for the flavour result! Spreading tarragon butter underneath the skin ensures the whole chicken takes on its richness.






Skill level

Average: 3.1 (93 votes)


  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 
  • 2 eschalots, finely chopped 
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped 
  • 1 tsp yellow mustard seeds 
  • 2 kg whole chicken
  • 100 g butter, softened
  • ¼ cup roughly chopped tarragon
  • 1.5 kg small kipfler potatoes, peeled
  • 150 g duck or goose fat
  • green salad, to serve

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Resting time 15 minutes
Drink match 2008 Petaluma Piccadilly Valley Chardonnay ($40) or 2009 William Fevre Petit Chablis ($30).

Heat oil in a small frying pan over medium heat. Add eschalots, garlic and mustard seeds, and cook for 5 minutes or until eschalots soften. Transfer to a bowl and cool.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 180°C. Rinse chicken including the cavity with cold water, and pat dry with paper towel. Slide your fingers under the skin to gently loosen and create two pockets.

To make tarragon butter, place 70 g butter, tarragon and eschalot mixture in a bowl and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper.

Using your fingers, spread the tarragon butter evenly under the chicken skin, then rub the remaining 30 g butter over the chicken to coat well. Season.

Place the chicken on a wire rack set in a roasting pan and roast for 1½ hours or until the juices run clear when the thickest part of the thigh is pierced with a skewer.

Meanwhile, place potatoes in a saucepan of salted water. Bring to the boil, then cook for 10 minutes or until just tender. Drain, then return to the pan over low heat to allow any water to evaporate. Turn off the heat and shake the pan vigorously to roughen up the surface of the potatoes; this will make them extra crunchy when they are roasted.  

After the chicken has been in the oven for 30 minutes, add duck fat to a separate roasting pan and heat on lower shelf of oven for 15 minutes. Carefully add potatoes, toss to coat in duck fat and season with salt. Roast on lower shelf for 1 hour or until golden.

Transfer roast chicken to a board and cover loosely with foil. Rest for 15 minutes. Carve chicken, then tear into pieces and place on a platter. Drizzle with pan juices and serve with potatoes and green salad.



As seen in Feast magazine, Sept 2011, Issue 1.