I was hoping to share a recipe for an apricot and lemon thyme tarte tatin this week… with the memories evoked of Provence, rosé in the sun and the hope of a holiday in the south of France with the Clarke-Brown family. Fate had other plans…
Instead my efforts turned my kitchen into a wasteland thick with the whiff of burnt sugar… yep, I burnt one batch of caramel, used salted butter in another and when I did get it right I dropped the tatin when I tried to flip it over. In short … I’m not trying that again.
So, instead you are getting another chicken dish for the BBQ. I’m a big fan of cooking outdoors even if the weather is a bit dodgy and this recipe is real comfort food. It doesn’t give you crispy skin – think of it more of a quick cook casserole that produces a really moist chicken with a deeply rich and satisfyingly garlicky sauce with minimal effort.
Music to listen to while preparing this dish: ‘I drove all night’ by Céline Dion
- 1 Medium chicken
- 2 Large onions, quartered
- 1 Large bulb garlic cut in half horizontally
- 1 Large bunch thyme
- Juice and flesh of 1 lemon
- 2 litres hot chicken stock (plus more to top up if necessary)
- First spatchcock the chicken by putting it breast-side down, with the legs towards you.
- With a steady hand and your solid scissors cut up along each side of the parson’s nose – basically either side of the backbone. All that cracking and crunching you’ll feel is the rib bones breaking. Once you’r done, remove the backbone and keep it for stock.
- Turn the bird over and flatten it. Be prepared for some more cracking.
- Well done you! You’ve spatchcocked your first bird. Now put it in a BBQ-friendly roasting tin.
- Arrange the dry ingredients around the chicken, ensuring you get even distribution.
- Pour over the hot stock and add the lemon juice and flesh and seal tightly with tin foil.
- Once the coals are ready, place the tin on your bbq and close the lid, ensuring the air vents are open.
- After 1 hour remove the foil and check your liquid levels – they should be fine but if not, top up with a little stock. Foil off, close the lid of your BBQ.
- After a further 30mins your chicken is ready to carve and your sauce should be thick and gooey.
Serve with steamed broccoli, a generous dollop of Dijon mustard and a hearty glass of Cuvée Saint Fructueux 2016.