- 25 g dried porcini mushrooms, finely chopped
- 100 g hazelnuts, roasted and chopped
- 10 g thyme, leaves only
- 3 garlic cloves, grated
- 3 lemons
- 30 g brown sugar
- 5 T olive oil
- 2 free-range whole chicken
- 12 potatoes, peeled and halved
- 200 g butter
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
To make the crust, combine the porcini, hazelnuts, thyme, garlic, zest of 1 lemon, sugar and 2–3 T olive oil. Season to taste.
Wash and dry the chickens and pat the crust mixture onto the surface of each bird.
Parboil and drain the potatoes, return them to the hot saucepan and toss with 100 g butter, sea salt to taste and 1 T of the olive oil. Transfer to a large baking tray and top with the remaining butter and 1 T olive oil, seasoning once more.
Nestle the chickens among the potatoes. Halve the 3 lemons and stuff some into the cavities of the birds and place others around the tray.
Roast for 1 and 1⁄2 hours or until the chickens are golden, the potatoes crisp and the lemons jammy.
Cook’s note: Turn up the oven for the last 5 minutes for a golden finish on the chicken, taking care not to let it burn.
Tip: The best cuts are those with a lot of marbling (fat spread throughout the meat) to keep the meat moist when dry-roasting - including beef topside, lamb shoulder, pork belly and good old roast chicken. For best results either start the oven at a higher temperature (for chicken and pork belly) or sear the meat first (lamb shoulder) to start the Maillard reaction. This is the chemical reaction that happens when meat proteins are exposed to high heat, and guarantees better colour and much better flavour.