- 1 good-sized free-range roasting chicken
- 25g (1oz) butter, softened
- 1 whole head garlic
- few sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 lemon, halved
- For the stuffing
- 2 large onions, finely chopped
- 8 wild boar or coarse pork sausages
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 dessert apple, grated
- 1tbsp chopped fresh thyme
- 4 heaped tbsp fresh coarse breadcrumbs
- For the gravy
- small glass white wine
- 300ml (½pt) chicken stock
- another whole head garlic
- handful chopped fresh thyme
Preheat the oven to 180 C, 160 C fan, 350 F, gas 4. Pat the chicken dry and rub the butter over the breast. Halve one garlic head through the middle, leave the other whole and put it all into a roasting tin with the thyme. Put the lemon in the cavity and season the bird well all over. Pour 450ml (15fl oz) water into the tin and roast for 1 hour 20 minutes until the juices run clear when a skewer is inserted into the thickest part of the thigh. Remove the garlic after 20 to 30 minutes when it’s tender and keep it warm.
Meanwhile, prepare stuffing. Cook the onions in the butter over a low heat until softened but not browned. Set aside. Remove the sausage meat from the casings and put into a bowl. Add the egg yolk, apple, onion, thyme, half the breadcrumbs and seasoning. Mix well and squash into a small, greased tin and scatter remaining breadcrumbs on top. Bake for 45 minutes or until brown and crispy.
For the gravy, squeeze the flesh out of the whole garlic. Remove the cooked chicken from the tin and set on a dish to rest for 10 to 15 minutes. Put the tin on the hob, add the wine and bubble for a minute, add the garlic, stock and thyme. Stir with a wooden spoon, scraping up any bits, then whizz in a blender to a purée and taste for seasoning. Reheat in a saucepan while you joint the chicken – take off the legs and halve them, remove the wings, cut the breasts off the bone and halve. Serve with the stuffing, gravy and halved garlic.