Roast chicken
Roast chicken with wild garlic

In the winter I like to use fresh earthy thyme and bulb with my roast chicken as they compliment each other beautifully. But in the spring, when the wild garlic is about, it makes for a great alternative. 

4 - 6

1.5 – 2kg chicken

50g of butter softened

Zest of 1 lemon

100g of wild garlic leaves

Salt and pepper

1 Tbls of Extra virgin Olive oil  

1 glass of water or wine


Place 75g of the wild garlic leaves into the bowl of a food processor along with the butter, lemon zest and some salt and pepper. Pulse until you have a course textured bright green butter.

Remove the chicken from the fridge about 1 hour before you plan to cook it. Pull the legs away from the body and lift the wings out from under the bird, this helps hot air circulate around the chicken while it is cooking. Place the chicken in a suitably sized roasting tin. Lift the skin from the breast by carefully edging your fingers between skin and meat. You can do this both from the back and the neck end of the chicken. Try not to tare the skin though.

Spoon two thirds of the wild garlic butter under the skin of the bird, massaging it down to the thighs and wings if you can. Season the chicken all over with salt and pepper and trickle with the olive oil. Preheat the oven to 180C.

Place the chicken in the hot oven for 20 minutes, then remove and add 1 glass of water or white wine to the base of the tin. Cook, basting once or twice, for a further 50 minutes. Now spoon the remaining wild garlic butter over the bird and scatter in the last of the wild garlic leaves, if they are big, chop them roughly. They will wilt in the roasting tray juices. Cook for a further 10 minutes. Check that the bird is cooked by pulling at a leg, it should want to come away from the bird without much effort. If the meat is not cooked return it to the oven for a further 10 – 15 minutes.  

Lift the chicken onto a large serving platter and allow it to rest for 15 minutes before serving.

To make a simple gravy, spoon off the excess fat from the roasting tray, then set it over a low heat. Sprinkle in 1 – 2 Tbls of plain flour and stir well, cooking gently for 1 minute. Add 300 – 400 ml of chicken or vegetable stock and bring to the simmer. Season to taste with salt and pepper and tweak the sweetness with 1 Tsp or two of red currant or other fruit jelly.  Serve with the chicken.