Mustard Butter Roast Chicken with Spring Vegetables–Feeds 6
1 Free Range Chicken – about 4 ½-5 lb or 2.2 kg. Please spend the extra money getting the very best quality chicken you can. You will be rewarded with great flavour and texture, fabulous gravy, and a carcase that will give up even more flavour for stocks and soup after the meal has finished.
60g or so softened butter with 2 heaped teaspoons Dijon Mustard stirred in.
About 8 cloves garlic, unpeeled and 8 bay leaves
Salt and pepper
1 heaped tablespoon plain flour – about 30g
175 ml white wine (about 1/3 of a bottle)
250 ml chicken stock (or 2 good quality stock cubes dissolved in 250ml boiling water) – 200ml for the gravy, 50ml for the vegetables.
500g Chantenay or other baby carrots, washed but left whole; 6 – 8 celery sticks cut into 1 inch/2.5 cm lengths; a bunch or two of spring onions trimmed and cut into 1 inch/2.5cm lengths; 500-700g frozen peas or petits pois; 1 cos or romaine lettuce cut into 1 inch/2.5 cm lengths or 250g baby leaf spinach, 1 tablespoon/30g or so of butter
Preheat your oven to 200°C/Gas 6. Put the cloves of garlic and bay leaves in the chicken cavity. Slide your finger beneath the skin of the breast on both sides of the breast bone, and put the flavoured mustard butter under the skin on each side. Put a little more butter or olive oil on the skin and season well with salt and pepper. Cook for about 1 hr 30 to 1 hr 45, basting occasionally, until the skin is golden and the meat is cooked through. To check this, pierce the thickest part of the thigh with a sharp knife or skewer, and the juices should run clear. Once cooked, remove to a platter, and cover with a double thickness of foil, and rest for 20 minutes or so in a warm oven or under a folded towel, while you make the gravy and prepare the vegetables.
For the gravy: Put the roasting tin on the hob over a moderate heat, and stir in the flour, scraping the bottom of the tin to gather up all of the juices. Pour in the wine and 200ml of the chicken stock, and bring to the boil stirring all the while. Allow to boil for about 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it is the thickness you like. Check the seasonings, adding more salt and pepper as required.
About 20 minutes before serving prepare the vegetables. In a large lidded pan, put the 50ml chicken stock remaining, 50 ml of water and 1 tablespoon butter. Tip in the carrots and celery, and season well with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, cover tightly with a lid, and simmer quickly for about 5-10 minutes (depending on the size of the carrots). Shake the pan occasionally. Then add the peas, spring onions and lettuce or spinach, stir well and cover again, cooking for another 5 minutes or so until the spinach has wilted and the peas are cooked. Most of the liquid should have steamed away, leaving all of the vegetables cooked but glossy with the butter.