Herbed roast chicken

butter and herbs

The Kylemore Abbey cookbook, 155pp.
edited by Mary Dowling
Gill and Macmillan, Dublin, 1997
Cooking on page 32

I was lucky enough to buy this book at Kylemore Abbey when my friend, Maggie, and I were travelling around the world in 2003. Ireland was at the top of her must-visit list. She’s Irish through and through and a redhead too.

The 70-room abbey was originally a castle commissioned by Dr Mitchell Henry. He and his wife, Margaret, had nine children by the time the structure was completed in 1871.

Since the early 1920s, the abbey has been in the hands of Benedictine nuns. The building and grounds are absolutely gorgeous and we had a great time exploring inside and out. Someday I’ll dig out the photos from that trip, which was before I had a digital camera.

The cookbook includes a history of the abbey. In addition to chapters on various core ingredients such as dairy, it has special chapters devoted to Christmas and Easter.

Page 32 is from the chapter on meat and poultry.

herbed roast chicken

Herbed roast chicken

1 x 900 g–1.4 kg/ 2–3 lb chicken
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
1 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
1/2 tbsp chopped fresh marjoram
1/2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
110 g/4 oz/ 1/2 cup butter
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped
150 ml/ 1/4 pint/ 2/3 cup chicken stock

butter mixture spreading butter mixture buttering chicken

Wash and dry the chicken and season well.

Mix the herbs, butter, lemon juice and garlic in a bowl and season. Loosen the skin around the neck of the chicken and, as far as possible, the breast, without tearing the skin. Spread the herb butter under the skin and all over the top of the chicken.

Place on a roasting pan. Cover the chicken in foil and roast in a preheated hot oven (200°C/425°F/Gas 7) for 50 minutes. Remove the foil, baste the chicken with the juices and brown in the oven for a further 10 minutes.

Transfer to a serving dish, allow the juices in the roasting pan to settle, remove the fat, add the chicken stock, return the pan to the heat for a minute and pour the remaining juices over the chicken when serving.

When carving, ensure that each serving has a little of both leg and breast. Serve with roast potatoes and seasonal vegetables.

How it played out
This is one of those recipes I approached with a bit of dread. It’s that short, intimidating phrase ‘without tearing the skin’. Ugh. But guess what, I managed to loosen the skin and spread in the butter mixture without wrecking the skin. Yay me!

Luckily, I have most of the called-for herbs growing in the garden so, all in all, this was a very easy recipe to bring together.

Kylemore Abbey Cookbook

The pan juices and chicken stock made a very nice light gravy. I didn’t need to worry about making sure there was leg and breast meat on everyone’s plate. We have very definite dark or white meat lovers here.

Served with mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli.

This delivers a lovely moist roast chicken. Much easier to make than I anticipated once I didn’t destroy the skin. The herb butter makes this recipe. I’m sure you could alter or increase the herbs you use but, whatever you do, don’t leave them out.

Poor John and I are on a marathon trip from Shanghai in China to Reykjavik in Iceland. Most of this has been overland on the Trans Mongolian Railway. I’m posting this from Stockholm Sweden. If you have time, check out my travel blog.

herbed roast chicken


About leggypeggy

Intrepid overland traveller, keen photographer, avid cook—known to jump out of airplanes and do other silly things. Do not act my age.
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15 Responses to Herbed roast chicken

  1. Looks delicious.Yes all the butter under the skin is usually yummy.

  2. Rhonda says:

    Yum! Love roast chicken!

  3. This looks like my dinner tonight, Peggy. 😍

  4. Sy.S says:

    Now this chicken recipe had the “WOW” factor….. moist, tasty organic chicken!!! My plate was with two pieces of this chicken, Fresh Chanterelles & Potatoes (sour cream on the side) and Brussel Sprouts ! And I also had a small bowl of French Style Chanterelles Mushroom soup.

    Sy S.

    • leggypeggy says:

      Oh wow, Sy, glad it was such a success. If you send me a url for the pic you sent me, I’ll try to add it to your comment.

      • Sy S. says:

        I tried this recipe again, but this time 3 hours in a Crock Pot/Slow Cooker (chicken half
        submerged in stock). The chicken came out to soft and fell apart (more like a boiled chicken). Then put it into my toaster oven/broiler to finish it off (added more margarine and
        spices to baste). I DON’T RECOMMEND USING THE SLOW COOKER for this recipe (unless you use a little amount of stock?)!

        Aside- I bought a plastic cup and spout for fat removal in the stock … it worked out great. You can Google to see what this looks like (OXO brand Fat Separator).

      • leggypeggy says:

        Thanks for that heads up, Sy. Amazing how a different cooking technique can change a dish so completely. I hardly ever use my slow cooker. Mostly because I’m home to supervise the cooking process.

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