Gary’s roast chicken, peas and potatoes recipe is a dish full of flavour that is beautifully decorated with edible flowers and sprigs of fennel
Preheat one oven to 120C and one oven to 180C. Half fill a 4 litre saucepan with water then cover and place over high heat to bring to the boil.
Heat one medium stainless steel frypan on medium heat and heat a second medium stainless steel frypan over high heat. Add a drizzle of olive oil to each pan.
For the Roast Chicken, cut the legs then wings from the chicken, keeping the crown in tact. Set wings and legs aside for the Jus Gras. Pat the chicken crown dry with a clean tea towel to remove excess moisture.
Take the chicken crown and run the blade along the wishbone to remove the wishbone. Season crown with salt and pepper.
Place crown, breast side down, into the stainless steel frypan over medium heat and fry until golden.
Meanwhile, for the Jus Gras, chop reserved chicken bones into small pieces. Add the chopped bones to the second preheated stainless steel frypan over high heat. Fry off, stirring occasionally, until bones have caramelised, but not burnt.
Turn the chicken crown over in the frypan and sprinkle with a few sprigs of thyme and a drizzle of olive oil. Place into the oven at 180C until cooked through, about 28 minutes.
Meanwhile, peel and dice the carrot and shallot. Peel and roughly chop garlic. Once the chicken bones have caramelised, add chopped vegetables to the pan. Add a few sprigs of the thyme, white peppercorns and continue to fry off until vegetables have caramelised.
For the Pea Custard, place peas, spinach, water and a pinch of salt into the Vitamix and blitz to a smooth purée, using the tamper to scrape down the sides of the jug. Turn Vitamix down to low and with the blender still running, add the eggs, yolk and cream and gently blend together on low speed until combined. Season well with salt and pepper. Gently pass the custard through a fine sieve into a clean bowl. Transfer custard into a clean pouring jug.
Deglaze the pan of chopped bones with the white wine and vermouth and bring up to the boil to reduce, scraping the bottom of the pan to pick up any sediment. Add two sprigs of the thyme and continue to cook until reduced by half. Add the chicken stock and continue to reduce.
Line a ½ sized gastronome tray with paper towel and 4 ramekins. Grease ramekins with olive oil. Pour the pea custard mixture into ramekins to 2/3 full. Carefully fill the gastronome tray with some of the pre-boiled water to halfway up the sides of the moulds. Cover the whole tray with aluminium foil and seal edges. Place the tray into the oven at 120C until set, about 35 minutes.
Remove the chicken from the oven, baste chicken with the pan juices then place back into the oven until cooked through, about 10-15 minutes.
For the Fondant potatoes, place the butter and a few sprigs of thyme into a small frypan over medium heat and swirl to melt. Slice the potatoes, lengthways, to 2cm thick. Use a small knife to turn the potatoes into elliptical shapes. Use a channeling knife to carve the ‘Union Jack’ symbol into the potatoes, then add to the pan of melted butter. Turn heat down to low to prevent potatoes from burning.
Monitor potatoes, swirling butter, to ensure potatoes cook evenly. Butter should be foaming gently, once potatoes are slightly browned, flip potatoes. Add a little water to prevent potatoes from burning and continue to cook.
Strain Jus Gras through a fine sieve into a clean small saucepan and set aside, reserving the frypan. Discard the bones and vegetables. Strain again through a fine sieve lined with muslin cloth into a clean saucepan and add some fresh thyme leaves. Place saucepan over medium heat and continue to reduce until slightly thickened then remove from heat and adjust seasoning to taste. Transfer to a small copper pot and set aside.
For the Pea Purée, place peas, spinach leaves and a pinch of salt into the Vitamix and blitz to a fine purée. Use the tamper to ensure purée has completely blended.
Pass purée through a fine drum sieve into a clean bowl. Season well with salt and pepper. Transfer to a small copper pot with about 1 teaspoon of butter and set aside until needed.
Once the Roast Chicken is ready, remove from the oven, transfer to a cooling rack set over a baking tray, cover with aluminium foil, and set aside to rest.
Meanwhile, for the Roasted Lettuce, peel off the outer layers of gem lettuce and trim off the stalk. Cut in half, lengthways.
To cook the Roasted Lettuce, heat a small frypan over medium heat. Add olive oil and place lettuce, cut side down, into the frypan. Cook until slightly browned, then flip over and continue to cook on the other side. Once cooked, remove from heat and set aside in the pan.
Place the copper pot of Pea Purée over low heat and stir gently to warm. Once warm, remove from heat and place a square of cling film over the surface to prevent a skin from forming.
Place 3 nasturtium leaves and 5 snow pea tendrils into a bowl of iced water and set aside to refresh.
Take the rested Roast Chicken and carefully remove one of the breasts. Place chicken breast back onto the wire rack set over the resting tray.
Heat a small non-stick frypan over medium heat. Add some olive oil to the pan. Place a square of baking paper into the pan. Add the chicken breast, skin side down, and top with a few sprigs of thyme. Add butter and continue to cook, basting chicken breast with the pan juices, until crisp and golden. Remove from heat and transfer chicken breast to a clean chopping board to rest.
Once the Pea Custards have set, remove from the oven and set aside.
Remove the frypan of fondant potatoes from heat and tip out about 1/3 of the pan liquid. Add chicken stock, place back on low heat and continue to cook, basting occasionally until soft. Once soft, remove from the heat and set aside.
For the Peas, combine butter and water in a small frypan and place over high heat. Add peas and stir to coat.
To plate, spoon some Pea Purée into middle of plate and smear with an offset palette knife. Add 2 Potato Fondants to either side of the Pea Purée. Slice Roasted Chicken breast into portions and place two portions of chicken to each end of the Pea Purée. Add one of the pieces of Roasted Lettuce. Spoon some of the Peas around the Roast Chicken and Potato Fondant pieces. Spoon a rocher of Pea Custard onto the plate and garnish with some snow pea tendrils. Finish with some white violas, sage flowers and a sprig of bronze fennel.
To serve, spoon some Jus Gras over the Potato Fondant.