HomeFoodGarlic and Herb Roast Butter Chicken with pan gravy

Garlic and Herb Roast Butter Chicken with pan gravy

“Pushing the garlic and herb butter under the chicken skin is a great way to not only add flavour, but to keep the meat nice and juicy. Use your imagination and put your spin on it,” says Ian Bursnall, author of new cookbook The Skint Cook.

His top piece of advice? “I would highly recommend investing in a meat thermometer. You’ll have juicy meat every time.”

Serves: 4


1 onion, quartered
5 garlic cloves, skin on, smashed
2 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
3-4 sprigs of thyme
1 medium oven-ready chicken, around 1.5kg
boiling water, to cover
1/2 tablespoon plain flour
salt and pepper

For the herb butter:
60g unsalted butter, softened
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 teaspoon chopped thyme leaves
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 teaspoon chopped chives
zest of 1 lemon


Preheat the oven to 180°C fan/200°C/gas mark 6.

1. Place the onion, the five smashed garlic cloves, the carrots and thyme sprigs in a roasting tin. In a bowl, mix together the herb butter ingredients and a good pinch each of salt and pepper, then put to one side.

2. Now take your chicken and a spoon. At the top of the chicken breast on the big opening side, slide the spoon in between the skin and the flesh. Go all the way down on both breasts to form a pocket each side of the backbone. Spoon three-quarters of the garlic butter mix into both pockets, dividing it evenly, then spread and smooth down. Rub the remaining garlic butter all over the chicken and season the skin with a good pinch each of salt and pepper.

3. Place the chicken on top of the vegetables in the roasting tin. Just cover the bottom of the tin with boiling water (this stops the vegetables burning). Now place the chicken in the oven to cook. After 20 minutes, start to baste the chicken with the juices. Repeat this process every 15 minutes. The chicken should take around one-and-a-quarter to one-and-a-half hours, depending on the size. The chicken is done when the internal temperature reaches 74°C/165°F and the juices run clear – check the thickest part of the breast and test with a meat thermometer.

4. Now take the chicken out of the roasting tin and place on a plate. Lightly cover with foil and put to one side to rest.

5. Place the roasting tin over a medium heat on the hob. Add the flour and mix well, scraping all the goodness off the bottom of the tin. Now stir in 200ml water. Bring to a simmer, stirring, and smash the vegetables to release their flavour.

6. Simmer for a few minutes, then strain into a saucepan, making sure you push hard on the vegetables and garlic to get all the flavour. Simmer the gravy over a medium heat until it’s reduced to the consistency of your liking. Season with a good pinch each of salt and pepper and add any juices from the resting chicken (don’t waste flavour).

7. Carve the chicken and serve with roast potatoes, cooked vegetables and cauliflower cheese. Spoon the gravy all over and enjoy.

Also read: Chicken and Pine Nut Rissoles

– With Prudence Wade

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