Hay baked chicken and roasted celeriac
1 chicken, about 3kg
6 fresh bay leaves
2 bulbs of garlic
600ml cider or scrumpy
3tbsp rapeseed oil
1 bunch of thyme
1 lemon, halved
2tbsp malt extract
600ml chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste
1 small bag of hay (Tom recommends asking a friendly farmer – it will taste better than buying it from a pet shop)
Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas Mark 6.
Place the chicken on top of a piece of muslin, large enough to wrap around it and season with salt and pepper. Put the bay leaves on top of the chicken.
Break apart the cloves of garlic from one bulb but don’t peel them. Give them a bash with the back of a knife and sprinkle them over the chicken.
Wrap the chicken tightly in the muslin, then put it in a large flameproof casserole pot.
Pack hay all around the chicken and pour over half the cider. Cover the pot and place it in the oven for one hour, checking occasionally that the liquid hasn’t evaporated. If it needs topping up, use the remaining cider and then some hot water, if necessary.
Pierce the muslin with a knife and stab the chicken in the thigh joint to check if the juices run clear. If not, return the pot to the oven for a further five minutes. Afterwards, leave the chicken to rest in the pot, covered, for 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, peel the celeriac and rub it down with a green scouring pad to make it smooth and rounded. Heat the rapeseed oil in an ovenproof frying pan over a medium heat. Add the celeriac to the pan and fry for 10-15 minutes.
Once the celeriac’s nicely browned, add the butter to the pan with the thyme and the remaining garlic bulb, cut in half. Baste the celeriac in the butter, then place the pan in the oven for 25-30 minutes until it’s tender all the way through. Baste again three or four times during the cooking time.
When the celeriac’s tender, remove the pan from the oven, give a good squeeze of lemon juice over the top and season with salt and pepper. Do not discard the garlic and thyme.
Remove the chicken from the pot and place it on a chopping board.
Pass any liquid from the pot through a fine sieve into a saucepan. Add the malt extract and bring to the boil. Add the chicken stock and continue boiling until the liquid reduces to a sauce/gravy consistency. Adjust the seasoning, if necessary.
Unwrap the chicken from the muslin and remove the garlic and bay leaves. Use a blow torch to brown the skin.
Serve the chicken whole on a platter with the whole celeriac and the gravy in a jug. Add the thyme and garlic from cooking the celeriac as a garnish, if you like.
Let diners carve the chicken and cut the celeriac themselves.
Recipe from Tom Kerridge's Proper Pub Food, published by Absolute Press, priced £20.