The pre roast marinade in an aromatic brine ensures this dish is a truly special Christmas feast
1 large Rangitikei corn-fed free range chicken
1/2 cup salt
1/4 cup sugar
10 cardamon pods, smashed
10 peppercorns, smashed
a cinnamon stick
one large head of garlic
extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
few sprigs fresh thyme
1 small loaf (300g approx) sourdough bread
a sprig of rosemary
some sprigs of thyme
1/2 cup cream
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
- Place the chicken in a large pot and cover with water. Remove the chicken and put back in the fridge. Add the other ingredients to the water and bring to the boil. Allow to cool then put the chicken back in and put the whole lot in the fridge for at least 24 hrs.
- Remove the chicken and dry it inside and out. Discard the brine.
- Preheat the oven to 180˚C
- Trim top quarter of garlic head and boil for 5 mins.
- Drain and place in small baking dish. Drizzle generously with oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper and thyme. Roast for half an hour
- Cut the sourdough in chunky pieces and place in a bowl. Squeeze roasted garlic in along with the roasting oil, chopped rosemary and thyme, salt and pepper. Mix everythingtogether with your hands.
- Preheat oven to 180˚C.
- Fill cavity of chicken with bread stuffing. Tie legs together and tuck wings under. Place in greased roasting dish and brush with some of the cream. Cook for 1 & 1/4 hrs or until juices run clear when leg is pierced. Every 20 mins baste and brush more cream over. When the breasts are golden, cover them with tin foil.
- Remove from oven, allow to rest for 15 mins then carve. To make the sauce, heat the pan juices, scrape anything up that has stuck on the bottom, add the rest of the cream, the chicken stock and the balsamic vinegar. Bring to the boil and reduce till a little thicker. Taste for seasoning and strain into a sauce jug.
NB You will have stuffing left over which you can fry and serve on the side.