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Roast chook with broccoli tabbouleh and turmeric buttermilk dressing

I remember a time on MasterChef when I cooked this chicken, giving important details like adding verjuice during the final stages of cooking and turning it over to rest for 20 minutes. That segment led to so much comment by email, social media and people stopping me on the street, telling me they’d tried the recipe and couldn’t believe how wonderful it was.


  • Take the chook out of the refrigerator 1 hour before cooking to bring it to room temperature
  • Preheat the oven to 200˚C (fan-forced).
  • Place the butter and tarragon in a food processor and whiz to combine the ingredients but don’t process it too much or the butter will split. Add seasoning to taste.
  • Place the chicken in a roasting tin and carefully slide your fingers under the skin around the legs and across both breasts to separate it from the meat.
  • Place the butter under the skin by pushing it in with your fingers. Tuck the wings under, then rub the skin of the chook with the olive oil and season to taste.
  • Place a piece of foil just over the chicken breast so it won’t dry out.
  • Roast the chicken for 30 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 180˚C (fan-forced).
  • Remove the foil and roast for another 30 minutes.
  • Open the oven and pour the verjuice over the bird, then close the oven and cook for another 10 minutes.
  • Remove the chicken from the oven and turn it over in the roasting tin to rest upside down for 20 minutes before carving.
  • After 5 minutes of resting, check whether the chicken is cooked by inserting a skewer into the thickest part of the thigh – there should not be any pink juices. Alternatively, the internal temperature should be 68˚C.
  • Leave to rest for another 15 minutes as it will keep warm in this time.
  • Meanwhile, to make the broccoli tabbouleh, as close as possible to serving, use a large knife to shave the head off the broccoli to give you fine pieces (see note).
  • Chop the spinach and spring onions as finely as you can and place in a bowl with the broccoli.
  • Gently stir in the remaining ingredients.
  • To make the dressing, whisk all the ingredients together.
  • Carve the chook and drizzle with all of the resting juices. Just as you’re about to serve, toss the tabbouleh with most of the buttermilk dressing.
  • To serve, spoon the broccoli tabbouleh onto a serving platter and pour over the last bit of dressing. Serve with lemon wedges.
  • Note: While you only use the finely shaved broccoli head for the tabbouleh, the stalk is delicious too. Peel and cut it into fingers, then blanch and toss in extra virgin olive oil. Serve as a side with the chook or another dish.