A rivalless roast chicken recipe by Soho House founder Nick Jones
Feast on a House-style Sunday lunch at home this Easter
Taken from the Eat Drink Nap book, available here.
Shopping list1 chicken (each chicken will serve four generously, so double up if you need to)
1 lemon (for each chicken)
A bunch of tarragon
Maille Dijon mustard
‘I salt my chickens really well, 24 hours before I cook them, and fill them up with tarragon to rest in the fridge overnight.
‘I also make the mashed potato in advance – beating the cooked and seasoned potatoes with loads of butter and cream – so I don’t have to worry about that later. I just heat it up on the hob before serving, maybe adding a bit more butter or cream, and serve that with a big bowl of freshly cooked peas – always with some wilted swiss chard or mint added.
‘On the day, I let the chickens come to room temperature and stick a couple of lemon halves in the cavity, squeezing them at the same time so that the juice runs out and mixes with the tarragon. I cover them with olive oil and place them in roasting tins surrounded with old vegetables, using whatever I have that’s a bit on the turn – onion, carrots and celery are good – all chopped up small. Then I put them into a very hot oven, and turn the heat down straight away to 200°C/ 400°F/ gas mark 6, cooking them for about 45 minutes.
‘After that, I take them out and add a load of Maille Dijon mustard into the tin, which gives a smoother flavour than ordinary Dijon, as well as a bottle of white wine. Or, if I’ve just got half a bottle of white left over in the fridge, I use that instead. They go back into the oven – normally about another 45 minutes – until they have a golden, crispy skin and the juices run clear.’
‘When the chickens are done, I lift them out of the tray with a carving fork, giving them a good shake so that all the lovely juices drip off them and into the tin. Then I put them to one side, tented in foil, to rest for about half an hour.
‘Meanwhile, I put the tin on the hob and let everything simmer away for about 15 to 20 minutes, adding chicken stock if there isn’t enough liquid. I’ll heat it until the volume has reduced by half and I never add any flour to thicken it – you can always taste it and bad gravy can ruin your whole meal. When it’s done, I strain everything through a sieve, pushing the vegetables through with a pestle quite roughly – the pulp thickens and flavours the gravy. I keep the gravy over a low heat until I’m ready to serve everything up.’
‘When it’s ready, I put the gravy in a big warmed jug and take it straight to the table. I chop up the chickens, lay out the meat on a big board, and put it in the middle of the table with the mashed potato and peas – and a good bottle of red wine – ready for everyone to pass around.’