I’m putting up this recipe because this has been a family tradition on Easter, Christmas, birthdays and anniversaries, why you ask? It’s simply divine, decadent and occasions like these deserve a long drawn out lunches. —Ryan Uttanwalla
Wash and clean the chicken, remove the liver and gizzard for the stuffing, place the chicken in the container, pour the 5-ltrs. of water over the chicken, pour over the salt, stir to mix.
Add one onion, cut into four with petals separated, zest the lemon, cut the lemon into wedges add to the brine, add a few sprigs of thyme, seal with cling wrap, place in the refrigerator overnight to brine.
Next morning, remove the chicken from the brine, run it under water to wash off any extra salt, place it on a wire rack to drip dry. Throw away the water and ingredients.
Once the chicken has dried sufficiently, pat it with a kitchen towel to remove all the extra moisture.
Slather the chicken with butter all over, place the lemon cut in half with half the thyme sprigs in the cavity, lightly season with salt and pepper.
Cut one large onion and 2 carrots into brunoise, half the size of your little finger nail, scatter on the bottom of the roasting pan. Cut the garlic pod into half so that all the cloves are halves, place these in the center of the roasting pan, sprinkle a pinch of thyme over the top.
Place a wire rack over the veggies in the roasting pan, place the chicken breast side down over the wire rack. Ensure the rack is high enough so that the chicken does not touch the veggies or pan. Do not truss the chicken, i.e. tie the legs and wings, that is an old fashioned method of roasting chicken.
Preheat the oven to 90 degrees C, use the oven thermometer or probe thermometer to ensure that it is accurate. Place the roasting pan with the chicken in the oven for about 3.5-4 hours, keep checking after 3-hours if the internal temperature of the thickest part of the breast is 60-65 degrees, do this by using a probe thermometer. Once the chicken has reached that internal temperature, remove the chicken with the tray and allow it to rest for 45-mins until it reaches room temperature. Turn up the heat in the oven to the highest and preheat it to the maximum temperature.
In the meanwhile, melt the remaining butter in a pan, add wine and a few sprigs of thyme, mix well and remove in about a minute, use this to thoroughly baste the cooled down chicken.
Remove the veggies from the roasting pan along with the garlic pod, place the chicken breast side up on the wire rack in the pan, baste one more time and place in the oven for 10-15 mins, depending on how high the oven temperature is. You’re looking to brown the chicken now, not over cook it, keep basting at regular intervals to ensure browning.
Remove the chicken from the pan and place it on a cooling rack over a platter, cool for about 10-mins before carving.
Place the roasting pan on a cook top, add the wine to deglaze the pan on a high heat, add the chicken stock and bring to boil, add mustard, tarragon and parsley, continue to reduce the liquid, squeeze out half the garlic cloves for one half of the pod into the sauce, season with pepper, check for salt, adjust, taste again. Once the liquid has reduced by half, strain it through a sieve or serve as is with the garlic cloves, we like it with the garlic.
Add remaining butter (basting) and a little olive oil in a sauté pan, heat, add the gizzard and fry well for about 4-mins on a medium heat. Now add the chopped bacon and fry well until almost crisp, add the chicken liver and toss, cook for about 4-mins. Once all the proteins are cooked add the soy sauce to gain some color, throw in the frozen peas and stir fry well, add bite size pieces of the bread and toss well, all of the fat will be absorbed by the bread, keep tossing on a high heat until you start seeing color on the bread. Sprinkle with parsley leaves. Taste, season, adjust, taste again.
Place the chicken on a serving platter, fill the cavity with the stuffing, keep a carving knife and fork ready, serve the gravy separately.