Wild garlic has just come into season, and this dish is a great way to enjoy it, says Rory O’Connell. The amount of wild garlic may seem excessive, but when cooked this way, the flavor is subtle and sophisticated.
For six people
- 1 organic or free-range chicken
- 60 g butter, at room temperature
- 500 ml finely chopped wild garlic leaves (measure the wild garlic in a measuring cup)
- 1 lemon
- 120 ml of white wine, such as Chardonnay
- 120ml chicken stock
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- garnish with garlic flowers (if available)
- Preheat the oven to 160°C.
- Heat a large, heavy-bottomed cast iron skillet over low heat. Pat the breast side of the chicken dry with paper towel. Rub the breast with 10 g of butter. Place the chicken breast side down in the heated casserole dish and brown gently until both breasts are golden brown.
- Return the chicken breast side up in the casserole dish and season with salt and pepper. Mix half of the chopped wild garlic with the remaining 50 g of butter and spread it all over the chicken.
- Zest the lemon with a Microplane grater directly on the chicken. Pour in the wine and chicken broth and cover with an airtight lid.
- Bake the chicken in the preheated oven for about 90 minutes. To make sure the chicken is cooked through, check that the juices between the thigh and the breast are clear, with no trace of pink.
- Once cooked, scrape the chopped garlic leaves still on the brisket into the juices at the bottom of the pan. Remove the chicken and keep warm in an oven set at 100°C.
- Place the casserole over low heat on the hob, add the remaining minced garlic leaves and bring the juices to a boil. Cook for 5 minutes then taste and adjust the seasoning. The juices can take on a slightly syrupy consistency, which is fine, but don’t reduce too much or the flavor will be too strong.
- Carefully carve the chicken onto a warm serving platter and pour over the bubbling hot sauce or pass it separately through a heated gravy boat. Sprinkle wild garlic flowers, if using, over dish.
Rory O’Connell is co-founder of Ballymaloe Cookery School in Cork, Ireland (ballymaloe.com).