One chicken – allow half a chicken per person depending on size and the appetite of your guests
Salt and cracked pepper to season

Heat oven to 160˚C on fan bake.
Split the chicken down the centre, following the bone as you cut. Remove the rib cage. Alternatively a good butcher will do this for you.
Liberally season the bird with salt and freshly cracked pepper. Place each half of the bird in a non-reactive oven proof dish (any dish that is not cast iron will do) and place in the hot oven.  Cook the chicken until the juices run clear – this will take approximately 50 minutes.  Increase the heat in the oven to 200˚C and crisp the skin for approximately 10 minutes.

While the bird is cooking prepare the salsa verde:

Ingredients for salsa verde
1 green capsicum, cored and finely diced
1⁄4 cup finely diced onion
1 teaspoon finely minced garlic (approximately one clove)
2 tablespoons finely minced capers
1⁄3 cup finely diced gherkins
1⁄3 cup finely chopped parsley
1⁄4 cup finely chopped mint
1⁄4 cup finely chopped basil
1⁄2 tablespoon finely chopped tarragon
Finely minced zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1⁄2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Hot chilli sauce – I like Sriracha

Place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
Refrigerate salsa verde as the bird cooks to let the flavours blend and develop.
Taste and add salt, cracked pepper, chilli sauce and lemon juice to your personal taste.
Smear the salsa verde over the bird and serve with extra lemon halves for your guests and serve with broccoli, brown butter and almonds mac and cheese.
Extra salsa verde will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week and makes a great accompaniment with cold meats.

Broccoli, brown butter and almonds

3 cups broccoli florets
¼ cup water
⅓ cup butter
¼ cup sliced almonds
1 small shallot, thinly sliced
⅓ teaspoon garlic pepper

In a large skillet over high heat combine broccoli with ¼ cup water. Cook, uncovered, until water begins to steam.
Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook for two to three minutes or until just tender, yet still crisp.
Drain and transfer broccoli to a bowl, cover and set aside.
Wipe skillet clean with paper towels and place over medium heat. Add butter and heat until it melts and just begins to bubble, whisk once.
Stir in almonds, shallot and garlic pepper and cook until butter is a light golden colour and begins to have nutty aroma. Quickly remove from heat (do not let butter burn).
Add broccoli to skillet, toss to coat. Return skillet to low heat and cook until heated through.  Season with salt to taste and serve.

Mac and cheese 

1 1/2 cups rotelle or elbow pasta
4 tablespoons butter, chopped
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon dry mustard
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
3 teaspoons hot pepper sauce
1 cup shredded Maasdam cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded Barrys Bay Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated Neudorf Pecorino cheese
1/3 cup dry bread crumbs
2 teaspoons chili powder

Preheat oven to 190°C.
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente or still firm to the bite; drain.
In a large saucepan over medium heat melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Whisk in flour and cook, stirring, for one minute.  A little at a time, whisk in milk, mustard, salt, pepper and hot sauce. Bring to a gentle boil, stirring constantly. Boil for one minute then remove from heat and whisk in the three cheeses until smooth.  Stir in cooked pasta and pour into shallow, individual serving dishes.
Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a small pot, and stir in bread crumbs and chili powder, then sprinkle this mixture over the macaroni cheese.
Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. My kids love this dish.

 

 

Suggested wine match: Selaks Reserve chardonnay

 

 

Click here for Jonny’s tips on how to carve your bird.

 

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