Chicken and peach? Yep. It’s divine.
Roast Chicken 1 free-range organic chicken 1.4kg (about 3 pound / size 14) Butter Fresh tarragon or a few pinches of dried tarragon Flaky sea salt 250ml (1 cup) chicken stock (more if needed) 1 small lemon ½ cup white wine or verjuice White Peach & Tarragon Salad 6 firm but not hard peaches (best with just a little ‘give’ when gently squeezed) 1 Tbsp butter Generous handful fresh tarragon (see Recipe Notes below) 6 large cos lettuce leaves Flaky sea salt Freshly ground black pepper 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil 1 Tbsp tarragon vinegar, or a good white wine vinegar 1 tsp creamy Dijonnaise mustard
1 Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F) and have chicken at room temperature.
2 Remove any lumps of fat from inside chicken cavity. Put a nut of butter inside chicken cavity along with a sprig of tarragon or a few pinches of dried tarragon and a pinch of salt. If you have plenty of fresh tarragon, slip some sprigs between the chicken breast skin and meat. Tie a piece of string around the parson’s nose, then tie the legs together pinning the wings in place, bring the string back to the parson’s nose and tie it in a tight bow. Put the chicken in a roasting tin and pour stock around chicken.
3 Melt 1½ tablespoons of butter and brush over chicken. Squeeze a little lemon juice over chicken and sprinkle with salt. You can add the lemon halves to the stock in the tin if you wish. Roast chicken for about 1½ hours, basting often; turn chicken over after 20 minutes, cook for a further 20 minutes, then turn breast uppermost again for the rest of the cooking. The chicken should be kept moist during cooking; add more stock if it dries up. Stir any sticky goo that forms in the tin into the juices to ensure it doesn’t catch and burn.
4 The chicken is ready when the juices run clear when pierced with a skewer – check the thickest part of the thigh – and when the legs are wiggled, they move freely. Remove the chicken from the oven when it is cooked and let it rest at room temperature still in the tin for at least 30 minutes, but up to 1½ hours, covered with a ventilated cover. (it is perfectly safe cooling down at room temperature as long as it is not in a super-hot kitchen).
5 When ready to finish the dish for serving, wash and dry peaches and cut into fat wedges. Heat a large frying pan (skillet) over a medium heat, and when the pan is hot, add the butter. Add peach wedges, or as many as will fit in one layer and cook until browned on both sides. Add tarragon and cook briefly. Have cos lettuce leaves on a large platter. Dish peaches and all the juices onto lettuce. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
6 While the peaches are cooking, whisk extra virgin olive oil, tarragon vinegar, mustard and flaky sea salt and black pepper to taste (about ¾ teaspoon flaky salt).
7 Transfer chicken to a board. Carve chicken into joints and serve on top of the peaches with any juices on the board poured over them. Re-whisk dressing and spoon over chicken and peaches. Serve immediately.
No fresh tarragon? You can use dried tarragon. It’s one of those herbs that holds a good amount of its flavour when dried. Make sure it comes in contact with the butter in the pan when frying the peaches.
The chicken can be prepared for the oven several hours before cooking. Keep it covered and refrigerated but bring it to room temperature before cooking. The chicken can rest at room temperature for 1-2 hours (don’t fret, it is perfectly safe cooling down naturally), making it a good choice for entertaining.
It’s not difficult to roast a chicken this way, but there must always be stock in the dish or any sticky residue or juices which are the base for the jus will catch and burn.
The pan juices are not required for this recipe but can be skimmed and frozen for later use.