Flavour to savour

Chicken is flavoursome and moist when you buy and store it right…

A common question I get asked is, ‘does your chicken taste like chicken?’ I’ve always found this curious, as it seems people often regard chicken as bland, which means they use it most as a platform to take on other tastes rather than as something genuinely delicious in its own right.

But fresh, naturally fed and reared poultry can have an incredible flavour all of its own, and to find it, all you need to do is ensure you buy from a good producer and you’ll notice a massive difference.

Customers also often ask about how to ensure the freshness of chicken. Well, if poultry is wrapped in clingfilm or in any form of plastic it will sweat and go off much faster. All meat and poultry needs air circulating around it to stay fresh, in the shop and at home. Obviously, in a domestic fridge this is less easy, but baking paper or foil wrapping is far better for fresh meat than plastic.

Also, if poultry has been bought in a supermarket it is often gas-flushed and injected with water to preserve it, which means that it can lack flavour and often shrinks to half the size when you cook it.

Most butchers offer fresh poultry and I strongly recommend you use your local butcher to avoid the pitfalls above. Poultry is better if it is sourced as locally as possible, but quality is important, too. Butchers in the North East source their poultry well. Mine is from Cumbria and I find it’s beautifully consistent for flavour and moisture. Take care where you buy, and you can enjoy the same quality.









BBQ spatchcock chicken

(ask your friendly butcher to spatchcock a chicken for you)


1.3kg chicken, spatchcocked
a little beer or water, to taste
2 lemons, quartered, to serve

For the marinade:

3 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to serve

1 tsp paprika, plus extra to serve

1 garlic clove, crushed zest and juice 1 lemon

zest and juice of 1 lemon

Mix together the oil, paprika, garlic, lemon zest and salt and pepper. Brush this all over the skin of the spatchcock chicken and leave in the fridge for 30
mins to marinate.

To cook on a barbecue: cook for 5 mins each side in the centre, then draw aside to the edges to cook on a gentler heat. Turn regularly. Baste in between with beer or water. To check that it’s cooked through, pierce with a knife between the thighs and breast bone: the flesh should be white and firm.
Remove from the heat and leave to rest, covered with foil, for 10-15 mins. Cut into portions, drizzle over lemon juice and seasoning, plus a little oil and pinches of paprika. Serve with the lemon quarters.

Sweet summer
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