“There is a feeling of reassurance when one has a bird in the oven, the table set with thoughtful trimmings and the family round to celebrate life. These weekly celebrations come in the form of a Sunday supper. Sunday, in my family, is a day of repose and relaxation. A day where nothing particularly important happens, but, oh, how we luxuriate in it. One frill that must be exalted is the butter-anointed chicken that slowly renders all of its lovely juices to my roasting pan and crisps up in the oven so its skin becomes stunningly bronze. Best of all, in going with the languid theme of the day, all I have to do to the bird is bathe it in butter and stash it away in the oven. Within no time, aromatics fill the house and family feel comforted as you greet them at the threshold. Roasting leaves time for the cook to patter around the kitchen, making sides or a dessert for the supper, or in my case, squeezing in a nap.”
- 800 g whole organic chicken, rinsed, pat dry (see note)
- 250 g butter, room temperature
- 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 tbsp freshly cracked black pepper
- 2 cauliflower heads, cut into florets
- 1 onion, roughly chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled
- 165 ml olive oil
- 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
- 1 tbsp finely chopped parsley
- salt and pepper, to taste
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 1 hour 15 minutes
Preheat the oven to 190°C.
To roast the chicken, combine the butter, chilli flakes, salt and pepper in a bowl.
Flip the bird over and cut out the backbone and stash it in the freezer for later use in homemade chicken stock (I prefer to cut the backbone out of the bird and break the breastbone, and lay the chicken flat while roasting, ensuring the bird is cooking evenly). If you prefer to cook the whole bird as is, tie the two legs of the chicken together with twine.
Boldly and confidently dig into the butter mixture and tuck it underneath the skin of the bird. Gently massage the remaining butter all over the outside of the chicken. Let the chicken rest for 1 hour at room temperature.
Meanwhile, to make the cauliflower mash, place the vegetables, 125 ml (½ cup) olive oil and chilli flakes in a roasting tray and roast for 45 minutes or until the vegetables begin to caramelise. Place the roasted vegetables in a large bowl and add the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil and parsley. With a potato masher, mash all of the ingredients until the desired consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Increase the oven to 230°C. Place the chicken into a roasting pan and allow the chicken to roast for 1 hour, basting with the drippings halfway through the cooking process. If you notice that the skin is getting too brown, tent with foil. Let the chicken rest for at least 15 minutes after it roasts to allow the juices to redistribute within the meat.
Serve the roasted chicken with the cauliflower mash.
• For every 500g chicken, cook for 20 minutes. Depending on the size of your chicken, you may need to adjust the cooking time.
Recipe from For the Love of the South by Amber Wilson, with photographs by Amber Wilson.