As anyone who’s been watching this space for the last few weeks knows, I’ve been doing the happy dance over the arrival of spring after a wickedly long and cold winter.  Yesterday, I finally ordered seeds for my veg patch – a whopping five different types of tomatoes, two different types of eggplant, 2 types of hot chilli (which I’m going to grow indoors this year after two years of less-than-enthusiastic returns in the veg patch), french beans and Swiss chard.  This year’s new addition is going to be … FENNEL.  Yes, every year, I try to plant something new to see how it grows and the winner this year was fennel. 

So, to reward myself for the back-breaking effort of going through the Marshalls online seed catalog, I went all-out on a spring-friendly dinner and made a lemon and tarragon roast chicken with some shaved asparagus and new potatoes and it was lovely.  Other than slinging something in the microwave, roast chicken is the most ridiculously easy dish on the planet make and never fails to please.  And, if you spatchcock the chicken, you get all the benefits of roast chicken with about 30 minutes less cooking time.

Lemon and Tarragon Roast Chicken

  • 1 whole chicken, spatchcocked
  • 2 oz butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup tarragon, chopped
  • zest and juice of a lemon
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 head garlic, separated into cloves, unpeeled with the papery bits removed

Preheat oven to 325 F.  To spatchcock your chicken, place the bird on its breast and remove the backbone with a pair of kitchen shears.  Flip the bird back over and press to flatten.  Loosen the skin of the chicken across the breast and into the thigh and leg.  In a small bowl, mix the butter, zest, chopped tarragon and a little salt and pepper then rub it between the skin and flesh and across the top of the skin, as well.  Place the chicken in a deep roasting pan, squeeze the lemon juice over the chicken and pour the wine into the pan before scattering the garlic cloves around the chicken and seasoning it all with salt and pepper.  Pop it in the oven and cook until it reaches a temperature of 160 F, basting regularly – if the pan starts to get dry, pour in a little more wine.  When it’s done, let it rest for 20 minutes before dividing into portions.