ROAST CHICKEN WITH WINTER FRUITS
BY VALLI LITTLE
This special breed of chicken ranges in size from 2kg to 4.5kg. Adjust the cooking time according to the size of your bird.
2 tbs chopped thyme leaves, plus 3 extra sprigs
100g unsalted butter, softened, chopped
2/3 cup (100g) frozen cranberries, thawed
2 pears, quartered
2 red apples, cut into thick wedges
4 plums, halved
2 red onions, cut into thick wedges
1/3 cup (80ml) maple syrup
2 cups (500ml) chicken stock
Fried sage leaves (optional), to serve
SERVES 8 | PREP TIME 20 mins | COOK TIME Approx 3 hrs
1. Preheat oven to 160°C. Combine thyme leaves and butter in a bowl. Carefully run your hand under chicken breast and thigh to loosen skin, being careful not to tear skin. Rub butter onto breast and thigh under skin, spreading to coat evenly. Season, then tie legs together with kitchen string. Place in a large flameproof roasting pan and cover pan with a sheet of baking paper, then a sheet of foil. Roast for 2 hours.
2. Meanwhile, place fruit, onion and maple syrup in a bowl. Season and toss to combine. Remove chicken from oven and discard foil and baking paper. Arrange fruit and onion around chicken, then scatter with extra thyme sprigs. Bake, turning fruit mixture twice, for a further 45 minutes or until the chicken breast registers 70°C with a kitchen thermometer and juices run clear when the thickest part of the chicken thigh is pierced with a skewer. Transfer chicken and fruit to a platter. Rest, loosely covered with foil, for 15 minutes.
3. Skim excess fat from pan and discard. Return pan to medium heat. Add stock and bring to the boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for 12 minutes or until jus is thickened and reduced. Season.
4. Serve the chicken with roasted fruit, onion, jus and fried sage leaves, if using.