Roast chicken with bay salt
- Preparation and cooking time
- Total time
- + drying + salting
- Serves 4-6
- (1.5-2kg) whole chicken
- 75g butter, softened
- to garnish sprigs of bay
- to serve roast potatoes
- 2 handfuls young bay leaves, stalks removed
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 125g sea salt flakes
- giblets or chicken wings, (see notes below)
- 1 carrot, sliced
- 1 onion, sliced
- 1 stick celery, roughly chopped
- a few stalks flat-leaf parsley
- a sprig thyme
- STEP 1
To make the bay salt, put the bay leaves, garlic and half the salt in a food processor and whizz until green, then tip into a bowl. Add the remaining salt and tip into a roasting tin, and leave to dry loosely covered with foil at room temperature for 4-5 days. Once dry, store in a glass jar or jars.
- STEP 2
Remove the wishbone from the neck end of the chicken – this isn’t essential but it does make carving much easier later on. Reserve for stock. Tuck the wing tips underneath the chicken to make a neat shape and put the chicken in a roasting tin.
- STEP 3
Season the cavity of the chicken with 1 tsp of bay salt, slather the breasts and legs with the butter, and sprinkle generously with another tsp of bay salt. Leave to sit for at least 30 minutes, ideally 2 hours.
- STEP 4
To make the stock, put the giblets (minus the liver) or chicken wings, wishbone, carrot, onion, celery and herbs into a pan. Cover with cold water, bring to the boil, skim and simmer gently while the chicken is roasting.
- STEP 5
Heat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Weigh the chicken and allow around 30 minutes cooking time per kg plus 15 minutes. Baste the chicken a couple of times during cooking with the buttery juices. To test if the chicken is cooked, prick the thickest part at the base of the thigh – the juices should run clear. Cover and leave to rest while you make the gravy.
- STEP 6
Spoon off the surplus fat from the roasting tin. Put the tin over a medium heat and deglaze with 600ml of the chicken stock. Using a whisk, stir to dissolve the caramelised meat juices from the roasting tin. Boil, season and thicken with a little roux, if you like. Serve in a warmed gravy boat.
- STEP 7
Serve the chicken on a carving dish surrounded by roast potatoes and lots of bay sprigs. Carve and serve with the gravy.