My mum is a big fan of roast chicken, particularly the BBQ ones you can get from the shops. They used to be her Thursday night dinner saviour when she was working in a large shopping centre and wanted to get some last minute, late-night retail therapy – but still had to get dinner on the table quick!
All jokes aside though, she bakes an excellent roast chicken too. I used to love it when she would go all out and make a ‘fancy’ flavoured version. Her two standby favourites were apricot (using tinned apricots, of course!) and peanut (where she basted the whole chicken in peanut butter). Some of you might turn up your nose at these pairings, but my childhood self was in chicken heaven!
I like to believe that my flavour palette has matured somewhat over the years, and the height of pure decadence to me now is more truffle butter, rather than peanut butter.
On a trip to Canberra last year for the Truffle Festival I was lucky enough to see a hunting dog sniff out a fresh truffle and then watch it being dug up by a professional truffle hunter. Later that day I bought it. When I took it home I went truffle-mad and grated it into sauces, onto eggs and fresh pasta but I still had some leftover. So I bought the best organic butter I could find and mixed it through and froze it in a log.
When I moved from Sydney to the Northern Rivers I put my log of truffle butter into a cooler bag with several ice packs and carried it in my hand luggage. Seriously, it’s that precious to me!
I can think of no better way to use such a prized gourmet treat than for a celebration meal in a dish that is surely everyone’s family favourite; a beautiful, juicy roast chicken.
The lovely people at Steggles Australia sent me a large family roast chicken and I went to town on it. I stuffed truffle butter under the skin and rubbed a little extra on top, then baked it and sprinkled it with truffle salt – you know, just to really hammer home the fact that Mother’s Day should be a very special and delicious event. I hope you can track down some truffle butter and give this a try!
As an aside, I find it incredibly difficult to wait for the chicken to rest after baking. I just want to dive in and rip off the parson’s nose and devour it before tucking into some of the crispiest bits of skin. Am I alone here? Or do you find freshly cooked chicken irresistible too?
What’s your family’s favourite celebration meal?
Truffle butter roast chicken
serves 4-6 as part of meal with side dishes
- 2kg whole chicken (I used Steggles)
- 100g truffle butter (see note)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon truffle salt (optional)
1. Heat oven to 200C. Rinse the chicken under running water, including inside the cavity, and then pat dry with paper towels. Place the chicken on a roasting rack that has been set inside a deep roasting tray.
2. From the bottom end of the chicken, push your fingers under the skin to form a gap, and then push most of the truffle butter under the skin to cover the entire breast area. Save a little butter to rub on top.
4. Rub the olive oil all over the outside of the chicken and season with salt and pepper. Rub in the remaining truffle butter over the legs and wings. As an optional step, tie together the legs with kitchen string to keep them neatly together while baking. This is just for aesthetic purposes.
5. Pour a cup of cold tap water into the roasting tray and put into the oven. Bake for 1.5 – 2 hours, basting regularly and topping up the water if it runs dry. You’ll know the chicken is cooked when you insert a skewer into the thickest part of the thigh and the juices run clear.
6. Remove from the oven and cover loosely with foil. Allow to rest for 10 minutes then sprinkle with truffle salt (optional) and carve and serve with your favourite vegetables.
*NOTE: If you can’t find truffle butter at your local gourmet food shop then try and buy truffle salt or truffle oil and mix these into 100g of regular softened butter for a similar result.
Disclosure: This post is proudly sponsored by Steggles Australia. Visit the Steggles Facebook page for more information about Steggles and to check out the Steggles Family Event Planner to plan a great day with your family.