Tapenade black breast roast chicken

Tapenade black breast roast chicken

Recipes From a Normal Mum
David Loftus

Roast chicken isn’t hard to get right. A touch of oil, maybe a little massage of butter, an onion and a lemon and into a hot oven and hey presto, lunch is served. Introducing other flavours can feel a bit like gilding the lily. Thai roast chicken is not for me. Yet this tapenade stuffing adds a saltiness to the chicken that feels just right. I don’t use anchovies, they’re just too much for a dainty bird. But the basil adds a Provençal feel.


Quantity Ingredient
1 large chicken
50ml olive oil
90g pitted black olives
28g basil leaves, washed
2 tablespoons capers, drained
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 lemon, finely zested and juiced
1 teaspoon dijon mustard


  1. Wash the chicken in cold water then pat dry with kitchen roll. Place in a roasting tray breast side up.
  2. Make the tapenade by blending together the oil, olives, basil, capers, garlic, lemon zest and juice and mustard in a food processor or using a stick blender. Whizz until well blended but leaving some texture – you need to see that there are little pieces of olives in it. Keep the remains of the lemon and stuff it into the chicken cavity.
  3. Preheat the oven to 200ºC. Use a pair of scissors to cut two holes in the skin at the top end of the bird. This is the narrow end at the top of the breasts. Using your fingers, gently ease the skin apart from the breast meat, creating pockets between the skin and the meat. Carefully spoon the tapenade into the pockets, massaging the stuffing down so that it covers the whole breast. This will ensure that the flavours permeate all of the meat from the breast downwards.
  4. Calculate the cooking time; you will need to roast it for 25 minutes per 500 g plus an extra 25 minutes. Place in the oven and cook for the specified time. The bird is ready when the juices run clear when the thickest part of the thigh is pierced. Please don’t despair if the breast bursts in the oven; this happens very occasionally and whilst it looks a little horror film-esque, the flavour is in no way compromised, and oddly the stuffing seems to stay put. I serve this with ratatouille and a few rosemary roasted potatoes for good measure.

Ideas for capers

  • Fry white fish fillets in a little foaming butter with a couple of teaspoons of capers and serve with lots of steamed sugar snap peas and a little bread for mopping up the juices. Or include capers and kale in homemade pesto for extra tang and an iron hit. Or if you’re not an anchovy fan, a niçoise salad is lifted by a few capers, a perfect substitution for their saltiness.
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