Roast spring chicken and celery risotto with field mushroom sauce
Light, fresh flavours make this a fantastic seasonal dish for a family gathering, while the celery risotto adds substance to make this a satisfying, filling meal.
For the brine (this will make the chicken very tender and juicy)
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs thyme
For the roasted spring chicken and sauce
1kg spring chicken
knob of butter and oil for basting
100ml brown chicken stock
2 banana shallots, peeled and finely chopped
1 sprig thyme stalk only (leaves picked and reserved for the risotto)
50ml double cream
½ lemon, juice only
2tbsp brandy and 1tbsp white wine
For the celery risotto
2 banana shallots, peeled and chopped
1tsp thyme leaves
1tbsp peeled and chopped celery
1 garlic clove, grated
100g risotto rice
3tbsp white wine
200ml brown chicken stock
50g parmesan, grated
salt and pepper
1 lemon, juice only
2g celery leaves, washed
1. For the brine, add 500ml water to a pan. Add the salt, bay leaves and thyme and bring to the boil, then leave to cool.
2. For the roasted spring chicken and mushroom sauce, truss the chicken for roasting. Place all the chicken in the cooled brine and set aside in the fridge for eight hours.
3. Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4. Remove the chicken from the brine and soak in cold water for five minutes. Brush with a little butter and oil and roast in the oven for 35-40 minutes. Pierce the flesh of the thigh bone to make sure the juices are running clear and the chicken is cooked through. Remove from the oven and rest for 10 minutes.
4. For the sauce, heat the chicken stock, shallots and the stalk from the thyme in a pan. Cook until the volume of liquid has reduced to a syrup, then add the double cream and bring back to the boil. Add the lemon juice, brandy and wine to the sauce and pass through a fine sieve. Once the sauce has been strained, poach the field mushrooms in the sauce. Set aside until ready to serve.
5. For the celery risotto, heat a thick-bottomed pan and melt 20g of the butter. Add the shallots, thyme and celery and cook for three minutes, then add the garlic cook for a further minute. Add in the risotto rice and coat the rice in the shallot and garlic butter. Cook until the risotto is dry then add the white wine and cook until absorbed. A bit at a time add the chicken stock, letting it absorb between each addition. Once the risotto is cooked and a nice consistency it should not be clumping together, it should be a loose texture. Add the parmesan, taste and season with salt and pepper as required.
6. To serve, place the remaining 50g butter in a frying pan and heat until nut-brown to make a beurre noisette. Finish with a little lemon juice. Fold the beurre noisette, celery leaves and the remaining lemon juice through the risotto at the last minute.
7. To serve, carve the chicken and divide between serving bowls. Spoon over the sauce and add the risotto on the side.