Roast chicken with herbs

Roast chicken with herbs

Pollo arrosto con le erbe aromatiche

Sharing Puglia
Alicia Taylor

My mother, Angela, used to buy a couple of young chickens at the local market in Corato and literally raise them on the balcony of our first-floor apartment. We grew very fond of these birds and treated them almost like pets. The sharp realisation came when Mamma would serve roast chicken on the table and we knew where it came from. Our ethical consciousness was definitely put to the test on these occasions. This chicken dish is simple, tasty and very satisfying. To me, this dish evokes memories of family and home, wherever I am in the world.


Quantity Ingredient
6 whole flat-leaf parsley sprigs
10 large basil leaves
1/2 chilli, (optional)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 garlic clove
1/2 red onion
1 x 1.8kg whole free-range chicken, butterflied, (you can ask your butcher to do this)
80ml olive oil


  1. Process the herbs, chilli (if using), cumin, garlic and onion with some salt and freshly ground black pepper, in a blender or food processor until the mixture has become a chunky paste.
  2. Using your fingers, gently prise the skin away from the chicken flesh without breaking the skin.
  3. Take the herb paste and push it under the skin and massage the paste down into the leg and thigh of the chicken, as well as the breast. Rub any remaining paste all over the chicken and leave to marinate for a few hours, or overnight.
  4. Preheat the oven to 180°C and preheat a barbecue to high.
  5. Take the chicken out of the refrigerator an hour before cooking. Drizzle the olive oil over the chicken and place it, skin side down, on the hot barbecue grill. After 5 minutes, take the chicken off the grill and place it, skin side up, in an oiled baking dish. Alternatively, you can sear the chicken in a chargrill pan.
  6. Roast the chicken in the oven for 30 minutes and then turn the chicken over for another 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 160°C and turn the chicken, skin side up, for a further 10 minutes. When the juices run clear, take the chicken out of the oven and cover loosely with foil to rest in a warm place for 10 minutes. Cut into serving pieces and season to taste.
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