A good-quality chicken, well seasoned, cooked and rested is such a homely pleasure. Stuffing helps keep the chicken moist, soaks up the cooking juices and layers flavour into the flesh.
Though I cook a roast chicken most weeks, a tweak like this quick stuffing makes it special. Use a free-range, organic bird if possible. Simple sides make for a perfect spring family meal.
Roast chicken stuffed with light rye, bacon and parmesan
5 slices quality bacon, finely sliced
3 cloves garlic
1/2 onion, finely diced
1/2 vegetable stock cube
5 slices sourdough rye, cut into dice, dampened with water and crumbled
1 tbsp oregano
1 tsp celery seeds
80g finely grated parmesan
1 size 16 chicken, organic
4 bay leaves
Salt and pepper
1. Preheat oven to 220C (200C fan-forced).
2. In a frying pan over high heat, fry bacon (use oil if lean) for two minutes, add garlic and onion and fry until soft.
3. In a bowl, crumble stock cube into egg and mix to combine.
4. Add onion mix to bread with oregano, celery seeds, parmesan and egg mix. Combine with your hands.
5. Fill chicken cavity with stuffing and press in bay leaves. Season chicken with salt, pepper and oil. Roast for one hour and 15 minutes. Rest for 10 minutes before carving.
Drink chardonnay or verdicchio
Broad beans and peas with cream and garlic
This dish is perfect with roasted poultry. You can also toss the peas and broad beans through pasta with chopped cooked prawns and add a squeeze of lemon just before serving.
30ml olive oil
3 cloves garlic, finely sliced
3 sprigs thyme
Splash white wine
4 cups broad beans, podded, boiled, then skins removed
1 1/2 cup peas, fresh or frozen
1 handful flat-leaf parsley leaves, picked and torn
1 handful finely grated parmesan
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. In a medium pan over a medium heat, add oil and cook garlic and thyme for one minute until fragrant.
2. Add wine and simmer for 20 seconds then add broad beans, peas, cream, butter and parsley and bubble until butter is melted.
3. Throw in parmesan at the last minute, season with salt and pepper and serve with roast chicken.
Baked king edward potatoes
The rich yellow flesh of this potato variety is divine when baked.
4 large or 8 small king edward potatoes
Salt and pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil
Fresh bay leaves for garnish
1. Place each potato on a large piece of foil. Season with salt and pepper and oil, wrap and bake in the oven alongside chicken. Serve garnished with bay leaves.