This is a really wonderful way to cook a chicken and potatoes, particularly when you're dealing with a Properly Free Range Whole Chicken with so much flavour. As it roasts the potatoes soak up all the garlic and herb spiked juices, which often get left in the base of the tin. You end up with the most succulent chicken, and perfectly suited to the wood oven but it also works superbly in a conventional oven too.



  • To make the aïoli, whisk the egg yolks, garlic, mustard and vinegar or lemon juice and some salt and pepper together in a bowl to combine. Now start to add the oils in a thin trickle, whisking constantly. When the oil starts to emulsify with the yolks you can add it a little faster. If things have gone to plan you will have a thick, glossy, garlicky mayonnaise. If it’s too thick add 1 tbsp warm water to loosen it slightly. Set aside until needed.

  • Pre-fire your wood oven. It should be 200–220°C when you come to cook. An hour or so before you are ready to cook, take the chicken from the fridge and let it come up to room temperature. Loosen the chicken breast skin a little, easing it away from the flesh with your fingers. Place the butter in a bowl and add the chopped thyme, marjoram, parsley, wild garlic (or garlic) and some salt and pepper. Mix well to combine. Spread this herby butter under the breast skin and all over the surface of the chicken.

  • Peel the potatoes and cut them into 4–5mm slices. Place in a large bowl with the olive oil and some salt and pepper and tumble together to coat.

  • Scatter the potatoes in a large roasting tray, in an even layer, and sit the chicken on top. Roast in the hot oven, turning the tray periodically, for about 30 minutes. Now carefully lift the chicken off the potatoes and give them a quick turn. Replace the bird and return the tray to the oven for a further hour or until the chicken and potatoes are cooked. Check the oven temperature from time to time; if it falls below about 120°C, build up the fire with fresh wood to keep it hot.

  • To check whether the chicken is cooked, slide the tray to the front of the oven and pull at one of the legs – it should come away easily from the bird. Or use a digital probe thermometer in the thickest part (inside of the thigh, next to the body) to check the core temperature has reached 72°C. Remove from the oven once cooked.

  • Let the chicken rest somewhere warm for 15–20 minutes before carving and serving with the aïoli and a crisp green salad.

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