Chicken smothered and baked in cultured cream is an old classic, but sometimes I like to go one step further. I use a lot of herbs at home, and sometimes I am left with quite a few stalks: dill, parsley, basil and coriander stalks all work well when stirred into the crème fraîche. By the time the chicken is cooked, this turns into the most amazing sauce.
I like serving this with chunks of good bread and boiled cabbage or the cabbage and cucumber salad, but it would also be lovely with new potatoes or a buttery lemon rice pilau. Any leftovers are delicious stirred through hot stubby pasta.
Prep time: 5-10 minutes, plus a few hours or overnight marinating
Cook time: 1 hour
Photography: Joe Woodhouse
Food Styling: Olia Hercules
150ml crème fraîche
25g dill and/or parsley or their stalks, roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 tbsp rapeseed oil
1 large chicken, about 1.4kg
Blitz the crème fraîche, herbs, garlic and a generous pinch of salt in a food processor until smooth. Taste, and add more salt if needed, and some pepper.
Pour the oil into a roasting tin, add the chicken and spread the herby crème fraîche all over it, inside and out. If you have time, cover and leave to marinate for a couple of hours at room temperature, or in the fridge overnight.
Preheat the oven to 200°C/Fan 180°C/Gas Mark 6.
Cover the chicken loosely with foil and roast for 45 minutes, basting it a couple of times, if you remember. Take off the foil and cook for another 15–20 minutes, or until the legs come away from the body with ease and the juices run clear from the thickest part of the thigh when it is pierced with the tip of a knife.
Take the chicken out of the oven and let it rest for 5–10 minutes. Pull the tender meat from the bones with two forks and mix through the roasting juices, then serve.
Olia’s Summer Kitchens explores the culinary identity of beautiful eastern Europe and her native Ukraine. With beautiful photography, it’s a book filled with stories and memories of tiny buildings called summer kitchens, and an entry into a cuisine and a culture that’s more important now than ever. Extract taken from Olia Hercules’ Summer Kitchen (Bloomsbury Publishing UK, £26 Hardback). Photography © Elena Heatherwick and Joe Woodhouse.