An Exclusive New Recipe from The Hairy Bikers

Posted on 3rd November 2017 by Martha Greengrass
To celebrate the launch of their new book The Hairy Bikers' Mediterranean Aventure, we present an exclusive new Hairy Bikers recipe to brighten your weekend. The kind of meal that demands that you lick your fingers and have second helpings, it delivers a burst of mediterranean sunshine to the autumn table.

Roast Chicken with Pistou Stuffing

Pistou is a sauce made from garlic, fresh basil and olive oil that is much loved in the South of France. Here we use these ingredients to make a delicious stuffing for a roast chicken - a great way of bringing some Provençal sunshine to an autumn or winter supper. 

Serves 4 - 6

1 x 1.5-1.8 chicken, giblets removed and trussed

sprig of thyme

sprig of parsley

sprig of tarragon

½ lemon

1 tbsp olive oil

100ml white wine or vermouth

fine sea salt


50g couscous

50g pine nuts

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

zest of 1 lemon

handful of basil leaves, finely chopped

handful of parsley leaves, finely chopped

a few sprigs of tarragon, leaves finely chopped

1 tbsp olive oil

1 egg, beaten

salt and black pepper

Ideally, start to prepare your chicken the day before you want to cook it. Remove the chicken from its packaging and sprinkle the cavity and skin with fine sea salt. Place the chicken on a plate, cover it loosely with kitchen paper and leave it in the fridge overnight. Take it out of the fridge an hour before you want cook it, so it can warm to room temperature.

When you are ready to cook the chicken, preheat the oven to 220°C/Fan 200°C/Gas 7. To make the stuffing, put the couscous in a bowl and cover it with 60ml just-boiled water. Cover the bowl and leave the couscous to stand. Toast the pine nuts in a dry frying pan until golden, then crush them very lightly in a pestle and mortar – they should be quite coarse in texture with some large pieces. 

Fluff up the couscous with a fork and add the pine nuts, garlic and lemon zest, then stir in the herbs. Season with salt and pepper, drizzle with the olive oil and add the egg. Mix thoroughly, then spoon the stuffing into the chicken. 

Weigh the stuffed chicken and work out the roasting time – it needs 20 minutes for every 500g plus the initial 15-minute sizzle time at the beginning.

Put the sprigs of thyme, tarragon and parsley in a roasting tin and place the chicken on top. Squeeze the juice from the lemon half over the bird, then pop it into the cavity if there is room. Drizzle over the olive oil. Add the white wine or vermouth to the tin, along with 100ml of water.

Put the chicken in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, then turn the heat down to 180°C/Fan 160°/Gas 4 and roast for the time you have calculated. You can test for doneness in a couple of ways. If you have a probe or meat thermometer, the stuffing and the thickest part of the chicken should be at 75C. Or you can pierce the thickest part of the thigh – the juices should run clear. The legs should also feel loose when you wiggle them.

Remove the bird from the tin, cover it with foil and leave it to rest. Pour the juices from the roasting tin into a small saucepan and spoon off any fat. Once the chicken has rested for 15 minutes, add any further juices to the saucepan. Bring these to the boil and simmer for 3-4 minutes, then serve them with the chicken. This is great French-style with salad or with roasties and veg for Sunday lunch.


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