50 minutes + 15 minutes resting
with sauce soubise
Lyndey Milan's French bistro chicken recipe is a classic dish with sauce soubise. Poultry and Chardonnay make fantastic partners, so pour a glass for a delicious pairing.
1 x 1.2kg–1.4kg whole chicken
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 small lemon, zested + juiced (for dressing)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
50g butter, softened
2 tbsp butter
2 medium white onions, thinly sliced
300ml heavy cream
Salt and white pepper, to taste
¼ cup (60 ml) extra virgin olive oil
Bunch watercress, stems trimmed, washed, dried or other greens in season
Recipe by Lyndey Milan
Photography by John Paul Urizar
Styling by Michaela Le Compte
Food prep by Wendy Taplin
1. Pre-heat oven to 220°C (200°C fan-forced). Remove chicken from fridge to bring to room temperature. Wash, pat dry and season inside. Combine lemon zest, garlic, thyme leaves and butter in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper. Gently push fingers between the skin and breast of the chicken and push butter under the skin. Put squeezed out lemon halves inside the cavity.
2. Place the chicken, breast side up, onto a wire rack in a large roasting pan. Roast in the oven for 35 minutes until golden, turn over for a further 15 minutes to brown the other side. Chicken is cooked when the juices run clear when the thickest part of the thigh is pierced with a skewer. Remove, place breast side down, cover with foil and rest for 15 minutes before serving. Carve.
3. For the soubise: place medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter until foaming. Add onions and reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring frequently, until soft but not browned and most liquid has evaporated, about 20 minutes. Stir in cream and simmer for 5 minutes. Use a stick blender to purée, season to taste with pepper (the sauce should have a texture that’s thicker than most sauces but thinner than a purée). Keep warm.
4. Combine lemon juice and olive oil in a small jug. Season; dress watercress and serve with chicken and soubise.
Lyndey’s note: The classic version of soubise uses bechamel sauce rather than cream. This version is easier and lighter. You can add other flavourings or spices like ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg to vary the sauce. Without any additions, however, it has a sweet onion taste. Resting chicken breast side down helps keep it moist.