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Roast chicken with anchovy butter

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Skye Gyngell says she grew up on roast chicken - always with mashed potatoes and green beens! May be that's why this recipe is out of this world. If you don't fancy mash potato and green beens, you could try another of Skye's favourite accompaniments; roast pumpkin with red onions and sweet potatoes, or fennel slices.

For the chicken

  • 1 x 2kg RSPCA Assured labelled free-range or organic chicken
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground Fairtrade black pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil, to drizzle

For the anchovy butter

  • 12 good quality anchovies (such as Ortiz)
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 1 dried red chilli, crumbled, with seeds
  • 1 tender rosemary stem, leaves only, finely chopped
  • Finely grated zest of 1 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 tenderise the meat and season it right through.  Wrap loosely and leave in the fridge overnight.
  • Take the chicken out of the fridge 2 hours before putting it into the oven.  Cut off the wing tips and tuck the neck flap of skin under the bird.
  • Preheat the oven to 180C/ fan 160C. 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 30 minutes, then turn the bird onto its other side and roast for a further 30 minutes.  Finally, turn the chick on its back and roast for a final 20 minutes or until cooked through.  
  • To test, pierce  thickest part of thigh with skewer - the juices should run clear.  Turn off oven & leave chicken inside, with door slightly ajar to let it rest for at least 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, for the butter, put the anchovies, garlic, chilli, rosemary & lemon zest into small saucepan over a low heat & stir gently until anchovies begin to disintegrate.  Now add 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, otherwise it is likely to split.
  • Transfer chicken to a warm platter & spoon over some of the warm butter.  Put the rest into a jug.  Serve at once with your chosen accompaniments.

Recipe from How I Cook by Skye Gyngell and published in the RSPCA Assured Celebrity Recipe Collection 2011

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