A cornerstone of the weekly menu, this dish is based on a recipe in Nigel Slater’s book Real Food, published in 1998. It has undergone a number of modifications over the years – we use only the leg pieces, for example, rather than a whole chicken cut into portions. Allow at least two pieces of chicken per person, more if you’re hungry, and don’t hold back on the garlic, which makes a lovely soft mush when roasted in this way.
12 chicken leg pieces – thighs and drumsticks
1 head of garlic, separated into approx 12 fat cloves, slightly squashed
A large handful of basil – 20g or most of a supermarket pack
Small bottle (187ml) white wine
Salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 180 (fan) / 200C
Trim the excess skin off the chicken thighs. Cover the bottom of a roasting tin with olive oil, salt and pepper. Lay the chicken pieces on top and tuck the squashed garlic cloves in around them. Squeeze the lemons over the chicken and drop the empty shells in too. Slosh on some more olive oil and season again with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 40 minutes, then tear / roughly slice the basil leaves and toss them about a bit with the chicken, spooning the juices over the meat. (Leave the chicken skin-side up, though.) Return to the oven for another 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, pour the wine over the chicken, then put the roasting tin over a hot flame and let the wine bubble for a couple of minutes. Serve with rice (50g per person) to soak up the juices, and steamed broccoli.