The Ginger Pig Butchery generously gave me a cockerel. It had been running around in the the Botterills of Lings Farm on the Belvoir Estate having a good time with its mates for 100 days (instead of 65 days for those other poor cousins who are grown commercially). Then they are dry plucked (poor things) and hung for a week and labelled as cockerels or pullets to ensure best results for excellent eating.
I came up with a Vietnamese style roast chicken, infused with lemon, kumquat and bay leaves and pineapple sage that I have growing in my garden. I marinaded it with lemongrass, tamarind, honey, wasabi, fish sauce and ginger beer and stuffed the breast with garlic and rau rum (hot mint) to give it the extra Vietnamese flavour.
The house smelt beautiful for 3 hours as it roasted slowly in the oven and the result was a delicious, delicate gravy sweet and sour, which complimented the great texture and juicy buttery-succulence of the bird.
For the bird and roasting tray
2.5kg 100 Day Cockerel
3 lemon leaves
3 kumquat leaves
3 bay leaves
1 stalk of pineapple sage
1 lemon – sliced and remove rind
2 carrots – peeled
2 onions – peeled and quatered
4 garlic cloves – finely chopped
5 large leaves of rau ram/ hot mint
4 stalks of lemongrass – finely chopped/ blended
4 tbs fish sauce
2 tbs honey
4 fresh tamarind (110g) – peeled and deseeded
200ml ginger beer
1 tsp wasabi
Preheat oven to 160.
Grease a baking tray large enough for the bird. Place 2 lemon, kumquat and bay leaves and lay the chicken on top. Stuff the remainder leaves with the pineapple sage inside the cavity with the carrots and onion.
Finely chop garlic and hot mint together. Cut the cold butter into half centimetre squares and stick the chopped garlic and hot mint onto it.
Using a blunt knife, slide the knife through the neck and separate the skin and the breast meat. Place the butter with chopped garlic and hot mint in between the breast and the skin in different areas. Close the flap of the neck so that the garlic butter remains inside.
Prep the lemongrass and add this to the fish sauce, honey, wasabi and tamarind. Blend or mix well together and rub onto the chicken skin.
Place the slices of lemon on and around the chicken and bake for 1 hour then pour ginger beer over the roast chicken and cook for a further 1 hour and 20 mins, occasionally recoating the chicken with the juices of the roast.
Rest the chicken for at 15 – 20 mins before serving.
Serve with sticky rice or roast potatoes with a refreshing salad or green vegetables.
NB: If you can not get fresh lemon or kumquat leaves, use lime leaves which can be brought frozen from Asian stores. If you can’t get hot mint/ rau ram – use thai basil.
Thank you to Nicola Swift at The Ginger Pig for sending me such a beautiful bird.