Roast chicken with baby onions

Michael Caines substitutes chicken for duck in an attempt to bring one of Gidleigh Park's flavourful roasts to the masses
By Michael Caines
Roast chicken with baby onions
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
  • Prep Time: 35 minutes
  • Effort: easy


For the chicken

  • 4 kg whole chicken
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 heads garlic, cut in half
  • 20 g fresh thyme
  • 100 ml olive oil

For the ragout

  • 100 ml balsamic vinegar
  • 200 ml olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 150 g baby onions, peeled
  • 120 g unsalted butter
  • 80 g smoked bacon lardons, or Panchetta strips
  • 100 g peas, fresh or frozen
  • 2 Little Gem lettuce, cut into quarters
  • small handfuls fresh mint, chopped


1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/gas 5.

2. Prepare the chicken by removing all items from its cavity. Season the bird all over with salt and pepper and place the garlic and thyme inside. Set the bird into a roasting tray and drizzle 100ml olive oil over the breast. Place into the oven and cook for 45 minutes to an hour, basting regularly until cooked. Remove from the oven and leave to rest.

3. For the ragout: drain the roast juices into a bowl. Mix 100ml of balsamic and 200ml of olive oil into the juice to make a warm vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper and set aside until required.

4. In a saucepan, heat the peeled baby onions with 50g of butter until they colour lightly. Then add the lardons and cook until mildly browned. Add enough water to cover just the top of the onions and bring to a boil. Cook the onions until the water reduces by half, then add the peas and baby gems. When the vegetables are sufficiently cooked, add the chopped mint and finish by whisking in the remaining butter. Season with salt and pepper.

5. To serve, reheat the chicken in the oven for 3-4 minutes. Carve the meat into portions and lay onto a serving platter. Spoon the ragout into a bowl and serve alongside the chicken.

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