Roast chicken caponata-style
SERVES 4 PREP AND COOK TIME 1 HOUR 40 MINUTES
1.8kg chicken 1 medium (140g) lemon ½ bunch fresh basil 1 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves 50g unsalted butter, at room temperature 2 cloves garlic, chopped finely 1 teaspoon sea salt flakes 1 large (500g) eggplant, cut into 2cm dice 4 medium (800g) red capsicums, seeded, cut into strips 3 medium (500g) red onions, bases intact, cut into 8 wedges each 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar 1 cup (120g) pitted black olives ½ cup (75g) raisins rocket and radicchio salad, to serve 1 Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Lightly oil a large heavybased baking dish and place in the oven. Pat the chicken dry, inside and out, with paper towel. 2 Finely grate the rind from the lemon; halve lemon. Reserve the basil and parsley stalks; chop the basil leaves and half the parsley leaves finely. Combine the chopped herbs, oregano, butter, garlic, rind and half the salt in a medium bowl; season butter mixture with freshly ground black pepper. Using your fingers, separate the skin from the breast of the chicken, including the tops of the thighs and drumsticks. Push the butter mixture under the skin and spread it evenly over the breast and tops of the thighs. Place reserved herb stalks and the halved lemon in the cavity of the chicken. Tie legs together with kitchen string. 3 Place the eggplant, capsicum and onion in the preheated baking dish; drizzle with the oil and vinegar, and sprinkle with the remaining salt. Stir to combine. Place the chicken in the centre of the dish. 4 Place the dish in the oven with breast facing the back. Roast for 30 minutes; stir the vegetables. Turn the baking dish around so that the legs are facing the back. Roast for a further 30 minutes. Stir in olives and raisins; roast for a further 15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. (To check that the chicken is cooked, pierce the thickest part of the thigh with a skewer and the juices should run clear. The breast should be golden brown with a lovely layer of herbs underneath the skin and the vegetables should be soft.) Season vegetables with salt and freshly ground black pepper. 5 Sprinkle chicken with the parsley leaves. Serve with salad, if desired. Not suitable to freeze or microwave.