Chicken served with summer marjoram and lemon, and roasted almond sauce
- Serves: 6
- Cooking Time: 45 mins
- Course: Main Course
- Cuisine: Irish
- 1 chicken, jointed into 8-12 pieces, bones removed from thighs and drumsticks
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp chopped marjoram
- 1 lemon
- Maldon sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ROASTED ALMOND SAUCE:
- 100g unskinned almonds
- Maldon sea salt
- 1 clove of garlic, peeled
- 2 tbsp marjoram leaves
- 2-4 tbsp olive oil
- 2-3 tbsp water
- 2 tbsp Parmesan, grated
- Lemon juice, a few drops, as necessary
Try to find an organic, or at least a free-range chicken for this recipe. If you buy the whole chicken, you will have the carcass for making a stock or broth and you can reserve the wings for another recipe. Chicken breasts can be used here, but I like to grill the legs and thighs also, as I prefer their flavour.
The chosen herb, marjoram, is my absolute favourite; however, it can be replaced with thyme, rosemary or tarragon if you wish, all of which are great with chicken.
The roasted almond sauce is also delicious served with grilled lamb.
If you are worried about jointing the chicken, either buy joints or ask your butcher to do it for you.
Start by making the sauce. To peel the almonds, place them in a small saucepan, cover them with cold water and bring to a bare simmer. Strain immediately and rinse under a cold tap. Slip off the skins. Place the almonds on a baking tray and roast in a moderate oven at 180°c / 350°F / gas 4 until golden brown. Remove and set aside to cool.
Place a pinch of sea salt in a mortar and add the garlic and marjoram leaves. Pound to a paste, then add the almonds and pound again. Gradually they will start to break down and get creamy. Add a little olive oil as you go. When the ingredients have taken on a pesto-type consistency, taste, then fold in the Parmesan. The almonds will be a little bit gritty and this is perfect. Correct the seasoning and consistency, adding in a few drops of lemon juice and water if necessary. Cover and chill until needed.
Place a cast-iron grill on the heat. While the pan is heating, place the chicken joints in a bowl and rub on enough olive oil to glaze them. Add half the marjoram and a squeeze of lemon juice and mix well. When the pan is just smoking, place the chicken joints, skin side down, on the hot grill. Allow them to colour well, adjusting the heat under the pan as necessary. When the skin is crisp and golden, turn and cook the other side. Season the crisp skin with salt and pepper at this point. As soon as a crisp surface is achieved on both sides, turn the heat down to complete the cooking without burning the meat. If you wish, you can transfer the pan to a moderate oven to finish cooking.
Serve the cooked chicken sprinkled with the rest of the chopped marjoram, with lemon wedges and a little extra olive oil if you think it needs it. Pass the roast almond sauce separately. A salad of leaves and a dish of rustic roast potatoes make excellent accompaniments to the grilled chicken, as do glazed carrots.