If you fancy a change from the traditional roast chicken with a lemon shoved up its jacksie, this recipe is worth a go. The pesto stuffing is wonderful and fragrant and the Parmesan melts onto the chicken meat, keeping it gloriously moist.
Half free-range chicken
For the pesto
1 bunch basil leaves
2 garlic cloves, crushed
100g Parmesan cheese
50g pine nuts
125ml olive oil
1. Put the basil, garlic, Parmesan and pine nuts into a food processor and whiz. Drizzle in the olive oil and continue to process to a coarse paste.
2. With a pair of kitchen scissors, cut out the backbone from the chicken. Reserve to make stock. Turn the chicken onto its breasts and flatten with the palm of your hand. Use a very sharp knife to cut the chicken into two halves, along the breast bone. Use one half for this recipe (or all of it, if youre serving 4 people) and the other half for another recipe (my Devilled Roast Chicken, which I havent cooked yet!).
3. Using your hands, make a pocket under the skin of the half chicken, taking care not to tear the skin, then use a spoon to insert dollops of the pesto mixture. Pull the skin over to make sure the pesto is completely sealed inside.
4. Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4. Put the stuffed spatchcock on a roasting tray and sprinkle good quality sea salt over the skin. Roast the chicken in the oven for 45-50 mins, until the skin is crisp. The chicken is done when the juices run clear.
5. Carve the half into quarters. I prefer the leg; my wife prefers the breast thats why were made for each other!
6. Serve with Daupinois potatoes and steamed broccoli and asparagus.