We may have moved to Devon in late February put last weekend was the first weekend Caroline and I had spent under the same roof. Finding care in rural Devon is a mighty challenging feat but we got there and we have the most amazing team in place now which has meant Caroline can finally come home. What a week to come home, the builders had finished the flooring and our launch party was on the Friday. I swear that there were a few people thought she was a figment of my imagination !
So to celebrate, I asked the same question I ask most weeks - "What do you fancy for Sunday lunch?" there was a pause and then she said a beautiful roast chicken. So decided to give the Veg In A Box roast dinner box a whirl. We were not disappointed. It's almost as if Julie and Bela new which were Caro's favourite vegetables. Fresh peas, Parsnips, roast potatoes, freshly dug up carrots fit with tops and purple sprouting broccoli to name just a few of the amazing vegetables. The chicken was locally sourced and free range. We even had some fizz left over from the party on Friday night to toast her homecoming. Result.
Roast chicken is a firm favourite in this house and we use every bit of it, right down to making fresh stock for the restaurant. This week I made my favourite Poulet Rôti using our house blend of Fines Herbes mixed into an emulsion that is slathered inside and out of the bird. This coupled with our beautiful assortment of vegetables and some of our lovely friend Ross' London Smoke and Cure Smoked Duck Fat roasties made for one epic Sunday lunch. One of the things Caroline and I love about Sunday roast chicken is the gravy and grudgingly donating some fizz, coupled with the very generous juices from the chicken made for one heavenly ladle full.
To say the chicken was moist and cut like butter is an understatement. This was our first roast dinner in Devon together and one which we will never forget. Here's our recipe for Poulet Roti aux Fines Herbes. Enjoy !
1 large free range or organic chicken
Herb mix ( we used tarragon, chervil, parsley, rosemary, thyme, chives )
A very good glug of olive oil
3 garlic cloves crushed
2 shallots, roughly chopped
4 sprigs of thyme
1 lemon cut into quarters
Sea salt and freshly milled black pepper
Wash the chicken inside and out and pat dry using paper towels or kitchen roll. Season the inside cavity first then finely chop all the herbs. Add them to a bowl, add the oil, the garlic and seasonings and whisk up into an emulsion. Leave to stand for 10 minutes. Loosen the skin around the breasts with your hands and then spread the fines herbes emulsion under the skin, massaging it as you go. Then some of the emulsion inside the cavity and move around by turning the chicken in your hands. Then insert a lemon, the roughly chopped shallots and finally the thyme into the cavity before pouring the emulsion all over the outside of the chicken. Give it a good massage then leave it for 30 minutes whilst the oven heats up. 180c that's gas mark 4. Place the chicken on a trivet so you collect all those delicious juices for your gravy and roast according to the manufacturers instructions.
We cooked our chicken for an hour and 10 minutes. Remove from the oven then leave to rest for 20 minutes. Serve with vegetables of your choice and a good gravy.