Preparation time: 10 mins
Cooking time: approx. 1 hr
Roasting a chicken with a compound butter under the skin serves two purposes. Firstly it keeps the breasts from drying out, allowing you to roast the bird at a high temperature to achieve a crisp skin along with tender, juicy meat. Secondly, it adds extra flavour to the bird, seasoning from within as it melts. Combining this process with the spicy, smokey, porky umami-bomb that is nduja seems a heavenly match.
125g butter, slightly softened
125g Moon's Green 'nduja - mild or fiery, your choice
1 lemon, zested and cut into wedges
2 tbsp olive oil or rapeseed oil
A few sprigs of rosemary & thyme
1tbsp plain flour
200ml white wine
250ml chicken stock
Sea salt & black pepper to taste
Starting from the cavity-end of the breast, carefully loosen the chicken skin away from the meat with your fingers, taking care not to tear. If you have a large bird, the handle of a plastic spatula or similar can useful to reach over to the far end of the breast. Then, in small batches, carefully work the nduja butter under the skin, smearing down over the breast meat so that it is evenly coated.
Drizzle the oil over the outside of the bird, rubbing all over to coat evenly. Next, season the skin with black pepper and salt - the salt will help it crisp up in the oven. Season the inside of the cavity, and place a couple of the lemon wedges inside along with a sprig of rosemary and thyme for good measure.
Place the bird onto a roasting tin with a metal rack or trivet to raise it up and allow the heat to circulate all over once in the oven. If you don't have one of these, a few roughly chopped onions, celery and carrots in the bottom of the roasting tin will do the trick. Plus these will caramelise nicely and be delicious to eat with the bird, or you can mash them up and use them to boost your gravy!
Place the bird in the preheated oven. Roasting times will vary depending on the size of your bird - around 45 mins for a small one, and up to 90 mins for something a little larger. The best way to check when it’s done is to use a meat thermometer - once the thickest part of the leg has reached about 68-70C, it’s time to take it out. Transfer the bird to a separate dish and allow to rest. Whilst resting, the residual heat will continue to raise the internal temperature by about 5 degrees. If you don't have a meat thermometer, the old ‘juices run clear’ check is your safest bet.
At this point the chicken should be well rested. To carve, take a sharp knife and begin by removing the legs. Then make a cut at the joint between the leg and the thigh to make four dark meat portions. Slice the wings at the joint closest to the breasts. Next, carefully remove the breasts by slicing along the breastbone and working your knife along the ribcage. Once removed, slice the breasts into about 2cm pieces. Transfer to a serving platter. Add the resting juices to the gravy.
Serve alongside roast potatoes and some green leafy veg like kale or cavolo nero, and a good drizzle of the nduja laced gravy.
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Fosse Meadows free-range chicken, Moon Green 'nduja and Abernethy butter are all available from The Butchery Ltd.