Roast chicken Margherita
======================== 2021-03-15

Comment: Recipe by Jamie Oliver seen on TV. Jamie calls it margherita due to the use of tomatoes, mozzarella and basil. The potatoes may not need to be peeled if the skin is thin enough. On some ovens it may not be possible to place a cooking tray at the very bottom. To move the chicken in and out of the oven use tongs with 1 arm inside the cavity. Jamie was placing the chicken directly on an oven grid, I have used a roasting pan with a rack that keeps the chicken above the pan, same result, easier to use. For the giant gnocchi, not having smoked mozzarella, I used what I had available, Roquefort, and it turned out fantastic. I had to increase the temperature to 200C to golden the chicken for the last ~10 mn, after removingf the gnocchi from the oven.


1 chicken (~1.5 kg)
1.5 kg potatoes (starchy)
1.5 kg tomatoes
2 heads of garlic
1 big bunch of basil (~30g)
300 g smoked mozzarella or other smoked cheese (see texte)
red wine vinegar
S + P


Preheat the oven at 180C.
Boil the potatoes in salty water until cooked.

Place the tomatoes cut in quaters in a roasting pan.
Break the 2 garlic heads and spread the garlic cloves, unpeeled, over the tomatoes.
Salt (enough) an pepper, then drizzles about 2 tablespoons ot vinegar and the same amount of EVOO.
Reserve some of the basil leaves for later use, sprinkle a few on the tomatoes and stuff the rest, including the stems in the chicken cavity.
Toss the tomato mix, and rub the chicken in the mix to coat it with flavour.

Using tongs, place the chicken directly on the oven grid and the roasting tray underneath on another grid so the juices from the chicken drip in the pan.
Roast for 80 to 90 mn until the chicken is cooked and golden (see texte).

Drain and mash the potatoes. Add salt, some pepper, and 50 g of flour. Mix well.
Place the potatoes on a cutting board and divide into 12 equal size balls.
Cut the cheese into 12 equal chunks. Poke a hole into each balls, insert the cheese and close the ball so the cheese is inside.
Align the balls on a small cooking tray or a pie sheet and place it at the very bottom of the oven for the last 60 mn (until golden).

Using tongs, carefully remove the chicken and the roasting pan from the oven - careful not to drip chicken juices all over.

Baste the chicken and let it rest ~10 minutes in the tray. Meanwhile, squeeze the garlic cloves out of their skins. Mash a few into the sauce, let the others whole.

Sprinkle the reserved basil leaves over the tomatoes and serve with lots of pan juices.