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Roast Chicken with Lavender Honey and Chinese Spices

ingredients

1 free-range chicken, weighing 3 1/2 - 4 lb/1.6-1.8 kg
3 tbsp clear honey
2 tbsp water
4 sprigs fresh lavender flowers or 1 tsp dried flowers

for the sauce

1/2 oz/10 g butter
1 tbsp peeled and finelychopped shallot
tbsp port
tbsp red wine
remaining lavender honey
1/4 pt/140 ml chicken stock
1 pinch of five-spice powder
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
salt pepper
2-3 oz (60-85 g) chilled diced butter

for the marinade

1 tbsp ground coriander seeds
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
1 tbsp soy sauce
4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1/2 tsp five-spice powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp sea-salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

method

1. Make the lavender honey by bringing the honey and water to the boil and infusing the lavender flowers, off the heat, for several hours. Strain the honey and put half of it aside. Mix the rest of it with the herbs, spices and sea­soning, and brush this marinade over the chicken. Cover it loosely and refrigerate overnight.

2. Bring the bird back to room temperature before cooking it. Roast at 190°C / 375°F, gas mark 5 for 20 minutes on one side, 20 on the other and 15 to 20 on its back.

3. Meanwhile make the sauce. Fry the shallots in butter until soft. Add the port, wine, honey, chicken stock, spices and seasoning to the pan, together with any roasting juices, from which you should have first skimmed the fat.

4. Boil to amalgamate all the ingredients and reduce until you have a good concentrated sauce. Add the vinegar and season to taste, before whisking in the butter a piece at a time.

5. Carve the chicken and serve the pieces with the sauce.

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