• 2kg free-range chicken
  • 90g unsalted butter: 60g softened, 30g cold and diced
  • 2 Braeburn apples
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 large parsnip
  • 4 shallots, peeled and cut in half
  • 400ml dry cider
  • 4 sage leaves


  1. Set the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas mark 6. Cover the breasts and legs of the chicken with the soft butter, then season.
  2. Peel, core and cut the apples into 2cm dice, then peel the carrot and parsnip and cut them into 1cm discs.
  3. Place the chicken in the centre of a roasting tray and arrange the apple, carrot, parsnip and shallots around the chicken, making sure the tray is big enough to accommodate everything without overcrowding. Pour the cider over the vegetables and roast for 1 hour, until the vegetables are tender and golden and the chicken juices run clear when you prick the thigh with a fork. If the juices are not running clear, place back in the oven for 10 minutes at a time, topping up the pan with a dash of water if the base is looking dry.
  4. Remove the chicken from the tray and place on a large serving dish. Use a slotted spoon to carefully lift the vegetables from the tray and arrange them around the chicken.
  5. While the chicken rests, strain the cider and chicken juices through a fine sieve into a small pan, skimming off any grease from the surface. Place the pan on the hob and reduce the liquid to about 150ml, then whisk in the cold butter. Roll the sage leaves into a tight bundle, cut them into fine strips and add to the sauce. Carve the chicken and serve with the vegetables and sauce.

Recipe by Martin Wishart, courtesy of

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