At The Werf restaurant on Boschendal, chef Christiaan Campbell loves to cook farm-to-table food with a surprise. element. Here’s his Bread-crusted Chicken with Gravy and Seasonal Vegetables recipe.
- 1 whole chicken (about 1.2kg)
- good olive oil
- roasted seasonal vegetables
- ready-made brown onion gravy or gravy of your choice (optional)
- Focaccia bread dough
- 1 tbs sugar
- 1 cup warm water (think warm bath water)
- 1 tbs active dry yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- 2½ cups white stoneground flour
- 2 tbs olive oil
- Seasoning spice mix
- coriander seeds
- fennel seeds
- sesame seeds
- bay leaves
- good, rough salt flakes
- fresh herbs of your choice, chopped if necessary
- Preheat oven to 100°C.
- Debone the chicken from the back, removing all bones while keeping the chicken in one piece (or ask your friendly butcher to do it for you). Carefully shape it into a roll by keeping the chicken meat inside the skin. Wrap very well in plastic, use a straw to suck out any air to create a vacuum pack. Transfer the pack to a hot water bath in the oven and bake for 1 hour, 15 minutes. Remove and lower it into iced water to stop the cooking process.
- While chicken is cooking, make the focaccia dough. Combine sugar and water, then sprinkle over the yeast and leave it to prove. Add salt to the flour and mix. Make a well in the centre, pour in the frothy yeast mixture, add the oil and knead to form a dough. Continue kneading for about 5 minutes until dough becomes elastic. Cover and leave to rise for about 10 minutes. Roll out to cover the chicken.
- Make the spice mix by mixing all the ingredients and toasting lightly in a dry frying pan.
- Increase heat of the oven to 165°C. Take the chicken out of the vacuum pack. Carefully wrap the rolled-out bread dough around the chicken. Brush dough with olive oil, sprinkle spice mix gently over the dough, transfer to oven and bake for 35 minutes, or until a rich golden brown.
- To serve, present chicken in bread crust, surrounded by vegetables, and slice as required. Serve gravy separately.
Wine suggestion: Boschendal Elgin Pinot Noir
You may also want to try Chef Christiaan’s Baked Cob and Spinach in Paper recipe.