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Ilse Cooks the Books: Roast Chicken in Herbs and Verjuice

───   11:12 Fri, 23 Oct 2020

Ilse Cooks the Books: Roast Chicken in Herbs and Verjuice | News Article

For today’s recipe, I bring you roast chicken. Sure, I hear you say, because can one ever have too many roast chicken recipes? Of course not, dear reader!

Roast chicken is comfort. It’s familiar. It fills the house with delicious smells and makes your heart sing once you cut into that delicious crispy skin.

This recipe comes from food editor Justine Drake and appears in the iconic The Great South African Cookbook. Justine recommends adding a few carrots, shallots, and baby leeks to the pan to roast in the gravy.  I served mine with sweet potato mash. The gravy is quite tart, so a sweet side dish balances the whole dish.

One more note on verjuice – it’s unfermented grape juice and available at Woolies. It contains no alcohol so is a fantastic replacement for wine in food.


Serves 4

1 large free-range chicken

½ cup (125 ml) verjuice

½ cup (125 ml) chicken stock

½ cup (125 ml) finely chopped herbs (I used rosemary, thyme and parsley)

Zest of a large lemon

Juice of ½ lemon

3 fat garlic cloves, crushed

2 heaped teaspoons Dijon mustard


Preheat the oven to 200?C.

Place the chicken in a roasting pan.  Mix together the verjuice, chicken stock, herbs, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, and mustard.  Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Pour the mixture over the chicken (also in the cavity – this ensures that the chicken stays moist).  Cover with foil and roast for 30 minutes.  Remove the foil and roast for one more hour until cooked through.

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