Roast chicken with three sauces

by Laura Hutton

A trinity of sauces for a spatchcocked chicken

This recipe was inspired by my article about the simple joys of chicken: a spatchcocked chicken, served up with three simple sauces, because a trinity is always a good thing. The sauce ravigote, a French classic that’s all about the tarragon and chervil, is best made on the day of serving, but the other two can be made in advance.


1 whole chicken, spatchcocked

For the sauce ravigote:
50g mixed herbs, to include mainly parsley, tarragon and watercress, with some chives, and chervil if it can be found (or substitute a few basil leaves)
3 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
1 tbsp capers, coarsely chopped
3 cornichons, finely chopped
4-6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
A splash of the cornichon vinegar, or tarragon vinegar if you have some
Squeeze of lemon juice
Fresh ground black pepper

For the tomato relish:
200 g passatta
2 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp malt vinegar
Pinch dried chill flakes

For the cheat lemon mayonnaise:
6 tbsp good quality mayonnaise
1 heaped tsp coarse grain mustard
Zest of 1 lemon and a squeeze of the juice


Put a tray in the oven and set the heat for 180C. Do not preheat—the skin comes out nice and crispy when you start with a cold oven. For a 2kg chicken, spatchcocked, allow 40-50 mins. If you are feeding a crowd, and cooking two birds, add 20-30 mins. Testing for doneness is the same as for roasting whole, the leg will wiggle nicely and the thigh juices will run clear.

Make the sauce ravigote about 30 mins before serving. Roughly, the ratios for herbs are: 20g parsley mainly leaves, not too much stem, 10g watercress, ditto, 10g tarragon, ditto, 5g coarse snipped chives, 5g chervil or basil. If you have chervil, increase it and decrease the parsley.

Finely chop all the herbs, not minuscule fine, but fine. Put in a bowl. Add everything else, starting with just 4 tbsp oil and give a good stir. Add a spoonful or so of the tray juices from the chicken. Then, if needed, add a bit more oil. Taste and add more lemon or vinegar if desired. The consistency is more relish than sauce so not too liquid. Serve immediately.

The tomato relish can be made a day or so in advance. Combine everything in a small saucepan and simmer over low heat until reduced and thickened, 10-15 mins. Stir occasionally and keep an eye so it doesn’t stick and burn. Taste and adjust adding more vinegar or a pinch of sugar, according to taste.

For the cheat mayonnaise, combine all in a bowl and stir well. Refrigerate until needed. Feel free to make your own mayonnaise, if you prefer.

Serve with boiled potatoes and two trays of oven-roasted veg: one of lightly olive oiled thin-ish carrots and the other of spring onions.

Recipe & image: Laura Hutton