Roast chicken and "very important" vegetables

Adam Liaw
Roast chicken and "very important" vegetables.
Roast chicken and "very important" vegetables. Photo: William Meppem

This recipe is inspired by a lunch served to us by chef Claus Henriksen at Dragsholm Castle, near Copenhagen. He said people focus too much on the chicken but that a great roast dinner was more about the vegetables.


1 free-range chicken (about 1.6kg)

75g butter, softened


300g new potatoes, skins on, cut into quarters

300g celeriac, peeled and cut into 2cm pieces

1 medium brown onion, cut into 2cm pieces

250g cauliflower, cut into small florets

2 small carrots, cut into 2cm pieces

1 cup strong chicken stock

¼ cup white wine

a handful of small snow peas, de-threaded

2 tbsp roughly chopped parsley

2 tbsp roughly chopped tarragon

1 tbsp white wine vinegar

½ cup pouring cream

2 cups loosely packed watercress


Heat your oven to 200°C. Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel and place in a large baking tray. Rub the butter all over the skin and season well with salt.

Place the potatoes and celeriac in a medium saucepan and cover with water. Add 1 tsp of salt and place over a high heat. Bring to a simmer, then remove from the heat and drain the vegetables.

Scatter the par-boiled vegetables and the onion around the chicken and place in the oven. After 30 minutes, toss the vegetables, add the cauliflower and carrots, season with a little salt and baste the chicken with the pan juices. Return to the oven to cook for a further 30 minutes.

When the chicken is cooked, remove it from the pan to rest. Place the roasting pan over high heat on the stove and add the stock and white wine to the vegetables. Bring to a simmer, scraping up any dark bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the snow peas, parsley, tarragon, vinegar, cream and any resting juices from the chicken, then simmer for about a minute to a thick sauce that coats the vegetables. Taste and season if necessary.

Spoon the coated vegetables and sauce into a deep plate. Carve the chicken, place it on the vegetables and scatter with the watercress to serve.