chicken and anchovy sauce

Well wasn’t this a hit! Lucky they didn’t know I popped anchovies in the sauce…. Think succulent roast chook, tender green beans and fluffy potato mash Skye Gyngell-style, with a salty, fragrant, rosemary butter sauce.  Mmm, if only my presentation looked slightly more in the manner of said fabulous chef.

What can I say – it was Monday night and this was pulled together in a flash! I plonked the lot on a platter and voilà – comfort food on a school night in-a-mo. Help yourselves boys!


By Skye Gyngell from her book “How I Cook”. 

“I grew up on roast chicken – always with mashed potatoes and green beans. My mother didn’t do roast potatoes, and neither do I. This is how I like to serve roast chicken in the summer- the flavoured butter is a nice change from a simple gravey and it goes well with sweetcorn. In the winter, I often roast pumpkin with red onions and sweet potatoes or thick slices of fennel to serve as an accompaniment.”  Skye Gyngell

Serves 6

  • 1 organic free-range chicken, about 2kg
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil, to drizzle
  • Anchovy and herb butter
  • 12 good quality anchovies (such as Ortiz)
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 1 dried chilli, crumbled, with seeds
  • 1 tender rosemary stem, leaves only, finely chopped
  • Finely grated zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
  • 200g unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • Season the chicken generously with salt inside and out – do this the night before if possible as it helps to tenderize the meat and season it right through. Wrap loosely and leave in the fridge overnight.
  • Take the chicken out the fridge 2 hours before putting it into the oven.  Cut off the wing tips and neck, and tuck the neck flap of skin under the bird.
  • Preheat the oven to 180°c /Gas 4.  Rub the chicken all over with olive oil. Place in a roasting tin large enough to hold it comfortably, laying the bird on one side. Roast on the middle shelf of the oven for 20 minutes, then turn the bird onto its other side and roast for a further 20 minutes.   Finally turn the chicken on its back and roast for a final 20 minutes or until cooked through.  To test, piece the trickiest part of the thigh with a skewer- the juices should run clear. Turn off the oven and leave the chicken inside with thte door slightly ajar to let it rest for at least 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, for the butter, put the anchovies, garlic, chilli, rosemary and lemon zest in a small saucepan over a low heat and stir gently until the anchovies begin to disintegrate. Now add the butter, a couple of cubes at a time, stirring as you do so, until it is all incorporated. This sauce should be made just before you are ready to eat, other wise it is likely to split.
  • Transfer the chicken to a warm platter and spoon over the warm butter, pout the rest into a jug. Serve at once, with the accompaniments.