Guest chef

Sarah Randell

Our very own food director, and former food editor to Delia Smith, Sarah has written more than 1000 recipes for the magazine. She is also author of the delightful baking book, Family Baking and Marmalade; A Bittersweet Cookbook.

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Summer roast chicken with watercress and spiced peaches

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Summer roast chicken with watercress and spiced peaches
Summer roast chicken with watercress and spiced peaches

step by step

  • 1Put the peaches in a large bowl, cover with boiling water; leave them for 30 seconds. Drain and carefully peel off the skins. Quarter the peaches and remove the stones.
  • 2In a wide shallow pan, heat 250ml water with the sugar, vinegar and spices over a low heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
  • This is a delicious Sunday lunch for a summer's day, with mayo and buttered new potatoes.
  • 3Add the peach quarters; simmer, partially covered, in the syrup for 8-10 minutes or until just tender, leave to cool in the liquid.
  • 4Preheat the oven to 190°C, fan 170°C, gas 5. Chop half the watercress; mix it with the butter in a small bowl and season. Put the chicken into a roasting tin; loosen the skin that covers the breasts and push the watercress butter under the skin; season the chicken. Put the garlic cloves and lemon into the cavity of the chicken. Roast for 1 hour 20 minutes or until the juices run clear when the thickest part of the leg is pierced with a knife. Leave the chicken to rest for 10 minutes.
  • 5Carve the chicken; arrange on a platter with the rest of the watercress tossed with some of the spiced peaches and syrup; drizzle with the roasting juices. Serve the rest of the peaches separately.
  • If you want to make a larger batch of the spiced peaches to serve with cold meats and cheese, double the quantities and transfer the peaches and syrup, while hot, to a sterilised Kilner jar; seal and leave to cool.
  • Recipe photograph by Laura Edwards

Get ahead

Make the spiced peaches 1 day (or up to 1 week) ahead, cool and chill submerged in the poaching syrup. You can stuff the chicken a few hours ahead too. Cover and chill but bring the chicken to room temperature before roasting.

You will need

  • 80g watercress
  • 100g very soft butter
  • 1 whole chicken, weighing about 1.5kg
  • a few whole garlic cloves
  • ½ lemon

For the spiced peaches

  • 4 peaches
  • 250g granulated sugar
  • 50ml cider vinegar
  • a few slices of root ginger
  • a few cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick

+ Nutritional Information