Back

Half a grilled chicken

Serves: 2-3

Cooking time: Prep 12hours Cook 2hours

Difficulty: Intermediate

Difficulty

  • 1 free -range chicken, about 1.5kg
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Watercress sprigs, to garnish
For the brine
  • 1l water
  • 60g sea salt
  • 1 rosemary sprig
  • 1 thyme sprig
  • 1/2 lemon
For the garlic purée
  • 100g garlic cloves, outer layer peeled but left whole
  • 50ml double cream
  • Vegetable oil
For the brown butter emulsion
  • 4 free-range eggs, at room temperature
  • 4 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, or to taste
  • 500g unsalted butter, melted and kept hot

Chicken is perhaps unfairly given a pedestrian rap, but treat it properly and it’s a thing of beauty. The key to this recipe by Mike Reid of M Restaurants is the brine, which imbues the chicken’s flesh with an abundance of moisture. The addition of brown butter gives the dish a nuttiness rather than run-of-the-mill richness that works wonders on the brined chicken.

1. Up to 24 hours and at least 12 hours before cooking, mix all the brine ingredients together in a large non-metallic container, stirring to dissolve the salt. Add the chicken, making sure it is submerged, then cover and refrigerate until required.

2. The garlic purée can be made up to a day ahead and stored in a covered container in the fridge until required. First confit the garlic cloves. Put the cloves in a saucepan over  a medium heat with a thermometer clipped to the side and pour in enough oil to cover them by about 1cm. If you have a heat diffuser, pace that under the pan. Very slowly heat the oil until it reaches 75 degrees and small bubbles appear around the edge. Adjust the heat as necessary to maintain this temperature for an hour, or until the cloves are very soft.

3. Place a sieve over the bowl in the sink. When the cloves are tender, drain them and leave them until all the excess oil has dripped off. Squeeze the cloves out of their skins into a small blender, add the cream and blitz until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper, cover and chill until required.

4. After the chicken has been brined, rinse it well to remove the excess saltiness and pat it dry. Place it in a steamer and steam for an hour, or until tender and the juices run clear when you pierce the thickest part of the thigh. If your steamer isn’t large enough to steam the whole bird, joint it into pieces that will fit. We like to steam the birds whole, however, to retain as many juices as possible.

5. Meanwhile, make the brown butter emulsion. Bring a kettle of water to the boil. Put the eggs in  saucepan and pour over enough boiling water so they are covered by 2.5cm. Boil the water for 31/2 minutes only, then transfer the pan to the sink and place the eggs under cold running water to stop the cooking. Set aside to cool completely.

6. Crack one of the eggs into a small bowl, lightly beat and discard half of the beaten egg. Break the remaining eggs into a food processor and add the beaten half egg and the lemon juice, then blitz together. Slowly add the melted butter through the feed tube, drop by drop, until it is all incorporated and emulsified. Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside.

7. Preheat the grill to high, or fire up your barbecue. After the chicken has steamed, transfer it to a chopping board, remove the backbone and cut the bird in half. Place the chicken pieces on the grill or barbecue, skin sides up, and grill for 8 minutes, or until the skin is golden brown and crispy.

8. Divide the chicken pieces among 2 plates, add the brown butter emulsion and garlic purée. Garnish with watercress and serve immediately.

Ingredients

  • 1 free -range chicken, about 1.5kg
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Watercress sprigs, to garnish
For the brine
  • 1l water
  • 60g sea salt
  • 1 rosemary sprig
  • 1 thyme sprig
  • 1/2 lemon
For the garlic purée
  • 100g garlic cloves, outer layer peeled but left whole
  • 50ml double cream
  • Vegetable oil
For the brown butter emulsion
  • 4 free-range eggs, at room temperature
  • 4 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, or to taste
  • 500g unsalted butter, melted and kept hot

Festival Partners