The herb and veggie garden near the historic Jacob’s Creek cottages in the Barossa Valley provided a great backdrop for this recipe.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F).
Place the chicken, breast side down, on a chopping board and butterfly by cutting down one side of the backbone with kitchen scissors or a sharp knife. Cut down the other side and remove the backbone to a large baking tray. Turn over the chicken, breast side up, and press down firmly using your hands to flatten out. Gently push your fingers under the skin at the cavity end and continue to ease the skin away from the flesh using your fingers to the end of the breast and down to the thighs.
Combine the butter, herbs, mustard and garlic clove. Carefully push this mixture under the chicken skin. Press on top of the skin to smooth the paste all over the breasts and down to the thighs. Season well all over with salt and pepper. Place the chicken, skin side up, on top of the backbone in the baking tray, tuck in the garlic bulbs and drizzle all with oil and roast for 50 minutes or until the juices run clear when the thigh is pierced.
While the chicken is roasting, make the parsnip purée. Place the parsnips in a large saucepan with just enough milk to almost cover. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook for approximately 15 minutes or until tender. Remove from the heat, add the butter and season with salt and pepper. Purée with a hand-held blender until smooth. Keep warm.
Remove the chicken and garlic to a serving platter and cover with foil to keep warm and rest. Remove the excess fat from the pan juices, place on the stovetop and, when bubbling, add the verjuice, chicken stock and grapes. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes or until well reduced. Discard the backbone. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add any juices from the rested chicken.
Make the garden salad by whisking together the oil, verjuice and salt and pepper in bowl. Add the salad leaves and walnuts and toss through.
To serve, carve the chicken and serve with the parsnip purée, garden salad and sauce.
Verjuice is the juice of unfermented grapes and is gently acidic. Substitute with wine or lemon juice.
This simply flavoured recipe matches surprisingly well with a white sparkling wine like that from Jacob’s Creek.
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