1.6kg free-range chicken untrussed
vegetable oil for rubbing
sea salt and black pepper
150ml white wine
1 bay leaf
2 garlic cloves peeled
250g thick asparagus (trimmed weight)
75g samphire picked over
knob of salted butter
50g crème fraîche
- Have ready a large lidded casserole pot that will hold the chicken with a little space around. Lightly rub the chicken all over with oil, season well, then colour it on all sides in a large nonstick frying pan over a medium-high heat. Transfer to the casserole pot, add the wine, bay leaf and garlic cloves. Bring to the boil, put on the lid, then turn down the heat to low and cook at a gentle bubble for 50 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cut off and reserve the asparagus tips, and coarsely chop the remaining stalks.
- After the 50 minutes cooking time, scatter the asparagus stalks around the chicken, submerging them in the juices, then cover and cook for another 10 minutes. Add the asparagus tips to a pan of boiling water and cook for 3 minutes, add the samphire and cook for another 30 seconds, then drain, return to the pan and toss with a knob of butter.
- Lift the chicken out of the casserole, tipping it so that any juices inside the cavity run back into the pot. Discarding the bay leaf, purée the contents of the casserole with the crème fraîche in a blender and taste for seasoning. Return the sauce to the pot and gently reheat. Carve the chicken and serve with the sauce spooned over, with the buttered vegetables.