It’s all about the bird! Buy a real nice large organic chicken and get an amazing juicy dish. The ricotta and the herbs give it an extra flavour kick.
1 large organic chicken 1.5 – 2 kg (we get ours form the amazing Pipers Farm in Devon - www.pipersfarm.com)
250 g fresh ricotta
2 handfuls of foraged wild garlic leaves, (ramsons) shredded (or small handful fresh thyme leaves + 2 tsp chopped garlic if wild garlic season is over)
Zest from 1 large organic lemon
Sea salt and fresh black pepper
A simple salad of crisp lettuce, thinly sliced fennel bulb and fresh basil leaves tossed with lemon juice, a little runny honey, extra virgin olive oil and a good twist of black pepper.
The chicken needs to be spatchcocked (or flattened by removing the backbone) then carefully ease the skin from the flesh of the breasts and thighs using the handle of a wooden spoon.
Heat oven to 225 C.
In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, shredded garlic leaves, lemon zest and a few twists of freshly ground sea salt and black pepper
Gently fill each pocket under the skin with the ricotta, easing the mixture down with your fingers.
Drizzle a little oil over the bird and season with salt and pepper. Any fresh herbs to hand, such as thyme, rosemary or oregano could be strewn over and around the bird too if you like.
Place a large roasting pan over high heat, pour in a couple of gluggs olive oil and heat to a sizzle. Place the chicken, skin side up, in the pan and leave for a good 5 minutes.
Transfer pan to preheated oven, roast uncovered for 20 minutets then reduce heat to 200 C. Cover bird with baking parchment and continue to roast for another hour or until juices run clear and legs come away easily when gently tugged.
Deglaze the pan with a glass of white wine and a spoonful of crème fraiche.
Allow to rest for at least 15 minutes, cut into generous chunks and serve with the lettuce and fennel salad
Recipe by Michaela James Food styling and photography by Liselotte Forslin