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Aromatic nutty chicken

The flavourings for this fragrant roast chicken are based on the peanut sauce that usually accompanies Malaysian satay. An aromatic, nutty paste is pressed under the skin and bastes the bird as it cooks, rendering it extra moist and full of great flavours.


Remove the chicken from the fridge about an hour before cooking so that it comes up to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 210°C/Gas 6–7.

Combine the nut butter with the tamari, chilli, garlic, ginger and lime zest.

Untruss the bird and put it into a medium-small roasting tin. Separate the skin from the breast by lifting the flap of skin at the neck end of the bird, and carefully edging your fingers between the skin and the meat. You are aiming to create a pocket over the breast meat where the flavouring paste can go. Try not to tear the skin but don’t panic if you do.

Use a teaspoon or your fingers to ease the spicy nut butter mix under the skin of the breast, pushing it as far down the breast as possible. Massaging the skin of the breast will help it spread. Level out the mixture with your fingers. Any leftover paste can be put into the cavity. Brush the bird with the oil and season the skin well with salt and pepper.

Put into the hot oven for 20 minutes, then remove and baste the bird with its own juices. Turn the oven setting down to 180°C/Gas 4. Add 200ml water to the roasting tin (but do

not pour it over the bird or you’ll wash off the seasonings and prevent the skin crisping). Roast for a further 40–60 minutes. To check that the bird is cooked, pull at one leg. It should come away from the body with relative ease and the juices between the leg and breast should be clear. If the leg is reluctant and the juices still pink, give it another 10 minutes and test again. When the bird is done, squeeze the lime juice over it and scatter with chopped coriander, then leave to rest in a warm place for 10–15 minutes.

Tip up the bird so any juices inside run out into the roasting tin. Transfer the bird to a warmed plate and carve. Serve the meat, with the fragrant juices from the roasting tin spooned over, with a green salad or sautéed peppery greens, and plain rice or noodles.

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  • 1 medium-large, free-range chicken (1.75–2kg)
  • 2 tablespoons crunchy almond or peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons tamari
  • 1–2 medium-hot red chillies, to taste, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 2–3 garlic cloves, grated or crushed
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • Finely grated zest and juice of 1 large lime
  • 1 tablespoon rapeseed or sunflower oil
  • Leaves from a bunch of coriander, roughly chopped
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

This recipe is taken from...

River Cottage Light and Easy

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