Warm Roast Chicken and Sourdough Bread Salad

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This is one of my all time favourite recipes and it works well when you are having a large group of friends and family over for dinner which we did last night.  I first saw this recipe earlier this year in the Saturday Guardian Newspaper, written by Yotam Ottolenghi. (If you haven’t discovered him yet, you’re in for a culinary treat- I have his book called ‘Ottolenghi- The Cookbook’) He said this recipe was his take on chicken and bread salad from Zuni’s restaurant in California- I am dying to go there, but haven’t yet, however I also would highly recommend their cookbook.  This is now my take on Ottolenghi’s recipe.

You bake the chicken slathered in a tasty herb butter and then in the last 20 minutes you add chunks of sourdough bread to the baking dish. The bread soaks up the chicken juices and herbs and then becomes crisp. You let it cool a little and then tear up the chicken in to chunks and add the pieces of tasty sourdough bread, various salad leaves and raisins infused with sweet vinegar.

Yesterday I made this white sourdough loaf IMG_0559

to use in this recipe.

Ingredients

50g unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 tbsp picked thyme leaves
1 tsp grated lemon zest
Salt and black pepper
1 free-range chicken (1.5kg)
150g  sourdough bread, torn roughly into 3cm pieces
50g raisins
5 tbsp sherry vinegar
1 tsp caster sugar
rocket and spinach leaves to cover the base of a large serving dish
about  3 tbsp olive oil
30g toasted pine nuts

Method

Heat the oven to 220C/425F/gas mark 7. Put the butter, garlic, thyme and lemon zest in a small bowl with a teaspoon each of salt and black pepper, and mash together.

Put the chicken in a baking tray just large enough for it to fit with some room around the sides for the bread. Massage the butter all over the chicken and under the skin – use your hands for this – then roast for 10 minutes. Turn down the heat to 190C/375F/gas mark 5, and roast for 30 minutes, basting occasionally.

Add the sourdough to the tray and roast for a final 20 minutes, turning and basting the bread once, until the chicken is cooked and the bread has absorbed most of the roasting juices and fried in the heat.  Remove from the oven and put the chicken on a  carving board to cool down. If the bread isn’t quite crispy enough, put it back in the oven in its baking dish for another 5 minutes and take it out when you think its crisp enough for you.

Meanwhile, put the raisins, vinegar and sugar in a small frying pan over a medium flame for two to three minutes, until the sugar has dissolved, and set aside. When it’s cooled a little add some olive oil to make up a dressing

When the chicken is cool enough to handle, but still warm, pull the flesh off the bone into bite-sized pieces. Put the leaves on a large platter and add the chicken, crunchy sourdough pieces and spoon over the pine nuts and raisin dressing.

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