Roast Chicken with Riesling, Grapes and Tarragon
Now that roasting chickens are generally smaller, the absolute best way to roast them is fast. If you've not tried this yet, you simply have to, because once you've tasted the crispy outside and the succulent juiciness inside, you'll never roast a chicken any other way.
First of all, the chicken and the grapes need to be at room temperature, so remove them from the fridge about an hour (half an hour on a hot day) before cooking. Snip off the strings and open out the chicken.
Reserve four sprigs of tarragon for later, then strip off the leaves and chop them, reserving a tablespoonful. Now cut the grapes in half and finely chop the shallot. Next, in a bowl, combine the shallots, chopped tarragon and about two-thirds of the grapes, then place the whole lot inside the body cavity of the chicken.
Then season the chicken and place it in a roasting tin into the lower third of the oven and roast for 1 hour - without opening the door. (Because ovens vary, test the thickest part of the chicken with a skewer and if the juices run clear, it's cooked. If not, give it another 5-10 minutes.)
What you now need to do is spoon out the grape stuffing and keep on one side. Then put a wooden spoon into the cavity and, using a spatula to hold the breast end, tip the chicken and let all the juices run out into the roasting tin. Transfer the chicken to a carving board and leave in a warm place to rest for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, place the tin over direct heat, add the wine and let the whole lot bubble and reduce by half - this will take about 5-6 minutes. Then whisk in the creme fraiche, add the stuffing and the rest of the grapes, and let it gently bubble for another 8 minutes. Finally add the reserved chopped tarragon, carve the chicken, spoon the sauce over and garnish with sprigs of tarragon.
Notes on ingredients
For a 1.76kg chicken it will take an extra 10 minutes and may smoke a little because of the extra fat content but it's nothing to worry about.
Nutrition: 531kcals/8.1g carbohydrate/7.4g sugars/33.8g fat/11.1g saturated fat/0.4g salt per serving.
Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 8, 230°C.