Is Donna Hay's dish the only roast chook recipe you'll ever need?

Karen Hardy
November 29 2023 - 5:30am
Roast garlic chicken on potato and leek gratin. Picture by Chris Court. Recipe and styling: Donna Hay
Roast garlic chicken on potato and leek gratin. Picture by Chris Court. Recipe and styling: Donna Hay

Everyone needs a collection of classics they can always rely on, says Donna Hay, one of Australia's most trusted and bestselling cookbook authors.

"Those dependable, delicious recipes we all want in our bag of tricks."

"These days, we're cooking a little differently, so expect to find new favourites that will expand your repertoire to a whole new level of deliciousness."

When she first launched her visually-stunning hardcover book Basics to Brilliance in 2016, she had no idea its pages would become home to some of her - and the country's - most cherished cult recipes, including that fail-proof fall-apart slow-cooked beef brisket and the most addictive molten choc-chunk brownies.

In Even More Basics to Brilliance, you'll find many more of those much-loved foundation recipes everyone needs, with simple flavour switch-ups and shortcuts to take you from basics to brilliance in the kitchen.

  • Even More Basics to Brilliance, by Donna Hay. Fourth Estate. $55. Photography: Chris Court. Recipe and styling: Donna Hay
Even More Basics to Brilliance, by Donna Hay. Fourth Estate. $55. Photography: Chris Court. Recipe and styling: Donna Hay
Even More Basics to Brilliance, by Donna Hay. Fourth Estate. $55. Photography: Chris Court. Recipe and styling: Donna Hay

Roast garlic chicken on potato and leek gratin

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp mashed roast garlic (see basic recipe roast garlic below)
  • 1 tbsp chopped tarragon leaves, plus 4 sprigs, extra
  • 80g unsalted butter, softened
  • sea salt and cracked black pepper
  • 1 x 1.3kg whole chicken
  • 1/2 lemon, cut into wedges
  • extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Potato and leek gratin:

  • 1kg starchy potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 leeks, trimmed and cut into thin strips
  • 1 tbsp thyme leaves
  • 310ml hot pure cream

Method

1. Preheat oven to 180C. Combine the mashed roast garlic, tarragon, butter, salt and pepper. Loosen the skin over the chicken breast.

2. Using a small spoon, place the garlic butter under the skin of the chicken.

3. Fill the cavity of the chicken with the extra tarragon sprigs and the lemon. Tie the legs together with kitchen string. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper and drizzle with oil.

4. To make the potato and leek gratin, place the potato, leek and thyme in a deep 25cm x 30cm baking dish. Pour the hot cream over.

5. Place the chicken on top of the gratin and roast for one hour or until the chicken and potatoes are tender and cooked through.

Serves 4.

Roast garlic

Roast garlic. Picture by Chris Court. Recipe and styling: Donna Hay
Roast garlic. Picture by Chris Court. Recipe and styling: Donna Hay

Ingredients

  • 3 large heads garlic
  • extra virgin olive oil, to drizzle
  • sea salt flakes

Method

1. Preheat oven to 180C.

2. Place each head of garlic on a sheet of aluminium foil. Drizzle with oil, sprinkle with salt and wrap to enclose.

3. Place on a baking tray and roast for 40 minutes or until soft and golden.

4. Cool for 10 minutes, then squeeze the garlic from their skins and transfer to a sterilised glass jar*. Discard the garlic skins.

Makes 100g.

Cook's note

* It is essential to sterilise jars thoroughly and store roast garlic in the refrigerator to reduce the risk of foodborne illnesses such as botulism. When using the garlic, don't leave the jar out at room temperature for too long. You can keep this in a sterilised glass jar in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. To sterilise glass jars, preheat oven to 120C. Wash the jars and their metal lids in soapy water, rinse and place on a baking tray. Place in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove and allow to cool before filling.

Chocolate mousse

Chocolate mousse. Picture by Chris Court. Recipe and styling: Donna Hay
Chocolate mousse. Picture by Chris Court. Recipe and styling: Donna Hay

Ingredients

  • 250ml pure cream
  • 125ml double cream
  • 220g dark (70% cocoa) chocolate, finely chopped
  • 60ml water
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 4 large egg yolks, extra
  • 75g caster sugar

Method

1. Place both the creams into a cold bowl and whisk together until soft peaks form. Refrigerate until required.

2. Place the chocolate, water and vanilla in a large heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (the bowl should not touch the water) and stir until melted. Allow to cool slightly (the mixture may split).

3. Place the eggs, extra yolks and sugar in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (the bowl should not touch the water). Using a handheld electric mixer, beat on high speed for eight minutes or until the mixture is warm, thick and fluffy.

4. Remove the bowl from the heat. Add 125ml of the egg mixture to the chocolate mixture and, using a metal spoon, fold to combine*. Add this chocolate and egg mixture to the remaining egg mixture and gently fold to combine.

5. Place mixture over an ice bath and very gently fold until cooled**. Remove from the ice bath, add the whipped cream and gently fold to combine.

6. Spoon the mousse into serving bowls or glasses and refrigerate for two hours or until well chilled and set.

Serves 4-6.

Cook's notes

* Using a metal spoon to gently fold the egg mixture ensures you keep as much fluffy volume as possible.

** To create an ice bath, place ice and enough water to just cover the ice in a large bowl. Placing a second bowl on top allows it to evenly cool down.

Karen Hardy

Karen Hardy

Canberra Times lifestyle reporter

I've covered a few things here at The Canberra Times over the years, from sport to education. But now I get to write about the fun stuff - where to eat, what to do, places to go, people to see. Let me know about your favourite things. Email: karen.hardy@canberratimes.com.au