Serves 4


For Brining

4 litres cold water
125g rock salt
35g brown sugar
2 lemons, halved
3 sprigs rosemary
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. black peppercorns
2 star anise
3 cloves
4 cloves garlic, crushed

For roasting

4 spring chickens
1 lemons cut into wedges
Sprigs of fresh rosemary
Handful of good quality olives
60 ml olive oil
80 g salted butter, room temperature
1 head garlic, halved
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
250 ml good chicken stock

Suggested sides

Roasted spring garlic
Roasted new potatoes
Roasted Carrots
Charred lemons


In a small saucepan, combine the salt, brown sugar, and 2 cups of the water and heat until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Set aside and allow to cool.

Meanwhile, prepare the chicken by rinsing thoroughly inside and out with cold water and place in a large pot. Squeeze the halved lemons over the chickens and place them into the pot. Add the crushed garlic, rosemary, bay leaf and spices. Pour the remaining water into the pot, followed by the slightly cooled solution. Cover and refrigerate for 6 to 8 hours. Thoroughly rinse the chicken under running water to remove the brine. Pat dry with paper towels and allow the chickens to sit uncovered in the refrigerator for an hour to dry; this will help to get a crisp skin.

Remove from the fridge for at least 45 minutes before roasting to allow to come up to room temperature. Pre-heat the oven to 190 degrees C.

Liberally season the inside of the chickens, place a lemon wedge, rosemary and a few crushed garlic cloves in the cavity fold the wings under the chicken. With your finger loosen the skin that covers the breast to create a pocket and fill with butter. Season the chickens from the outside and place in a roasting tray. Drizzle with olive oil and pour the chicken stock around in the pan.
(If you want to make gravy add some root vegetables and herbs in the tray)

Put into the oven and roast for 45 minutes, check after 25 minutes, add the olives, you might need to add some more chicken stock if it is drying out. When it gets close to the 45-minute mark check with a probe, position the probe close to the breast bone it will be ready when it reaches 72 degrees Celsius. Remove from the oven and cover loosely with aluminium foil and allow to rest for 10-15 minutes. Cut down the middle and again into four. Serve with the suggested sides and lemon wedges.