A Saison, a Chicken and a whole lot of butter...
by Pressure Drop·
Saisons are notoriously versatile beers when it comes to food pairings, but I have a particular fondness of matching them with simple & hearty dishes. Farmhouse beer calls for farmhouse food in my book.
Small Sorrows is light and refreshing and whilst some of the more funky saisons can stand up to red meat- in this instance we are going with chicken, which will act as a delicate backdrop for the flavours in the beer.
Our chicken is cooked with rosemary & lemon-thyme, copious amounts of butter and a halved lemon shoved in the cavity for good measure. We’re roasting using the French method, which is slightly labour intensive but results in a ridiculously moist and tender bird.
Small Sorrows has a lovely delicate spice that works brilliantly with the zesty flavours of lemon-thyme and is really complimented by the savoury and herbaceous rosemary. Sage & tarragon would also work really well in this dish.
Check out the recipe and enjoy with a Small Sorrows, remember when it comes to roasting a chicken, butter really is your best friend….
Small bunch of lemon thyme
Small bunch of rosemary
1.7- 2kg chicken
Chicken stock (please no cube!) enough to come up 2cm in your pan
Tsp lemon zest
A lot of butter
4 heads of garlic
A splash of saison
First up you want to figure out your total cooking time, a rough guide is 20 minutes per 500g + an extra 20 minutes.
We’ve got a 2kg bird so we’ll be cooking for around 1hr 40mins, but all ovens are different so it's best to check the chook when you’re about 20 mins before the end of your cooking time and adjust accordingly. Preheat the oven to 190ºC (170ºC fan, Gas 5).
Take half of the herbs and chop them finely, then mix them up with copious amounts of butter, a little salt & pepper and your lemon zest. Now it's time to get up close and personal with your chicken. Using your hands, massage the butter mixture all over the bird, make sure to get into all of its nooks and crannies. Gently separate the skin from the breasts and get your butter mix up in there too.
Once you’ve really gone crazy on the butter, we can fill the chicken cavity with the remaining herbs (no need to chop) your lemons halves and a small knob of butter for good measure.
Pour your stock into a snug roasting tray, cut the tops off your garlic heads, plonk them in the pan and nestle your chicken in breast side down. Cover loosely with foil and then get her in the oven.
Half of the cooking time will be breast down and covered, the remaining half will be breast up and uncovered. Every 20 minutes baste the bird with the juices, adding a splash more stock if needed.
When your cooking time is up the internal temperature of the chicken should be 76º. At this point the bird should be golden, crispy skinned and ready for a 15 minute rest, leaving you enough time to make a quick pan sauce.
For the sauce simply add a splash of saison and a squeeze of lemon to your pan and reduce, you may need to skim off some of that butter, but save it for bread dippage.
I like to serve this with a salad of shaved fennel, olive oil, lemon, grated parmesan & fennel fronds, plus a big hunk of crusty bread and a saison of course.