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Embla's roast chicken with sauce vin John

Embla's roast chicken with sauce vin John

Prep time 20 mins

30 mins

Serves 4

3 1/2

"Vin Jaune is a classic French wine that’s oxidated and aged – almost sherry-like – and so strong that it’s quite hard to drink a lot of on its own," says Dave Verheul of Melbourne's Embla restaurant. "But with a little cream, butter and a few aromats, it becomes a legendary sauce for serving with chicken. Sadly, Vin Jaune is also rippingly expensive, so we broke down its flavour profile and gave it a more approachable name." From the book, On Sundays, Long Lunches Through the Seasons..

1, 1.6 kg (3½ lb) chicken

50 g (1¾ oz) sherry

10 g (¼ oz) roasted garlic

10 g (¼ oz) Dijon mustard

1 g (¹⁄₃₂ oz) fenugreek seeds soaked in 20 g (¾ oz) water overnight

100 g (3½ oz) chicken stock

20 g (¾ oz) butter

Place the chicken on a cutting board, breast side up. Using a sharp knife trim the wings off at the joint and remove the wishbone. Halve the chicken by cutting lengthways between the breasts and down over the ribcage. Lay the half flat, skin side down, and remove the bone on the leg. Repeat with the other half. Reserve all trim to make stock on another day. 

When you are ready to cook, preheat a wood-fired oven to 450°C (842°F). Failing that, a gas pizza oven or convection oven at 220°C (430°F) will work. Heat a cast-iron pan big enough to fit the half-chicken. Lightly oil the pan and season the chicken’s skin with salt. Sear, skin side down, over a medium heat for 5 minutes, or until it is starting to get golden brown. Place the pan into the oven and cook for around 14 minutes. Remove the pan and flip the chicken over so that it is skin side up and leave in a warm spot to finish cooking through, around 5–8 minutes. 

When you are ready to serve, give the chicken a flash through the hot oven for 5 minutes, remove and transfer to a serving plate. Make the sauce in the same pan by putting it over a medium heat and deglazing with the sherry. Once the alcohol has cooked off, add the garlic, mustard, fenugreek (including the soaking water), the stock and butter. Bring everything to a simmer and reduce to a light coating consistency, then season with salt. Finally, spoon the glaze over the chicken and serve.



This is an edited extract from On Sundays by Dave Verheul, published by Hardie Grant Books. Available in stores nationally. Photography © Kristoffer Paulsen 2024

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