This is a simple and tasty dish, but buy the best chickens you can – free range, organic…
2 crowns of chicken, from birds about 1.3kg – 1.5kg each
2 spring onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 tomatoes, deseeded and chopped
1 tbsp Maldon sea salt
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp olive oil
1 glass dry white wine
300ml chicken stock
25g cold butter, finely chopped
1 tbsp parsley, chopped
Get your butcher to create the crowns of chicken for you, or do it yourself. Remove the legs and put them aside for later use. Take out the wishbone from each crown.
Pre-heat the oven to 200°/400°/ gas 6. Melt the butter in a pan over a medium heat, add the spring onions and chopped garlic and sweat them gently together, do not allow them to colour. Then add the tomatoes, season with black pepper and a little salt. Stir, then remove the pan from the heat and allow the mixture to cool.
Gently separate the skin from the flesh over the breasts of the chicken crowns from the wishbone end, using your fingers to make a pocket over each breast; try not to make a hole when you do this. Put the tomato mix into the pockets formed, and then pull back the skin to give the chicken its original shape.
Mix the Maldon salt with the cumin seeds. Put the chicken crowns into a roasting tin. Splash them with oil, sprinkle with the salt and cumin seed mixture, and roast them until they are cooked – between 40 and 60 minutes, depending on weight.
Take the crowns out of the oven and keep them warm, allowing them to rest for at least 10 minutes while you make the gravy. Pour the excess fat out of the roasting tin and put the tin on the heat. Add the white wine to the fat that remains in the tin and bring it to the boil. Reduce the liquid by two-thirds, then add the stock and continue boiling until the liquid has reduced by half. Check for seasoning, then add the cold butter and shake it in. Sieve the gravy into a clean pan and add the parsley; warm it gently when you are ready to serve.
Carve the chicken and serve it with the gravy.
To see if your chicken is cooked properly, pierce the thickest part with a skewer or the point of a sharp knife. The juices should run clear. However, you should try to catch the bird just before this happens. I always like to leave my chicken to rest for about 10-20 minutes before carving, when it will continue to cook slowly in its internal heat.