How to get the most from a really good chicken

Pot-roast POT ROAST CHICKEN This is my mum’s recipe and a real crowd-pleaser. You can easily feed eight hungry people, as long as you add plenty of root vegetables. It’s important that you use a really good, large, free-range chicken from the butcher; ask them to remove the wishbone as it makes life so much simpler when you go to carve. Serves 4-8.


1 large free-range chicken (about 2.3kg)

30g butter

150ml dry white wine

4 carrots, peeled, topped, tailed and halved

4 sticks celery, cut into large chunks

1 large onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, peeled but left whole

Sprig of thyme

150ml water

Salt and pepper


1. Melt butter in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over a medium heat. Hold your nerve – you’re looking for the butter to turn nut-brown but not burn.

2. As soon as you've achieved the right colour, season the chicken generously with salt and pepper, and place, breast down, into the melted butter. Get a really good golden colour, which should take 6-8 minutes.

3. Keep the chicken moving to avoid sticking. When it’s turned a rich golden colour, flip it onto its back.

4. Add white wine and turn up heat to let the alcohol boil off (2-3 minutes). Toss in the remaining ingredients, add water, put lid on (or cover with tin foil) and reduce heat. Leave it at a gentle simmer for around 1.5 hours, or until the chicken is cooked through.

5. Serve with braised red cabbage and creamy mashed potatoes.