We love him on My Kitchen Rules, but this ultimate roast chicken recipe from sexy French chef Manu Feildel’s new cookbook Manu’s French Kitchen makes us wish he ruled our kitchen, too!

Sometimes a dried herb is better than a fresh one; the long cooking here will simply kill the flavour of fresh tarragon. As a general rule, fresh herbs are best when they are added to a dish right at the very end of cooking so their flavours and colour remain bright. Serve this with cauliflower gratin for the ultimate (that is, my mum’s) roast chook. Recipe from Manu’s French Kitchen by Manu Feildel, published by Penguin, RRP $35.

Serves 4 as a main


125 g soft unsalted butter

1 tablespoon dried tarragon

1 x 1.8 kg chicken

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 onions, cut into wedges

6 cloves garlic


Preheat the oven to 190°C.

Place the butter and tarragon in a small bowl and combine well. Using your fingers and starting at the neck end of the chicken, gently ease the skin away from the breast, taking care not to pierce the skin. Evenly spread one-third of the tarragon butter between the flesh and skin of each side of the breast; take care not to tear the skin. Spread the remaining tarragon butter over the top of the chicken and season inside and out with salt and pepper. Truss the chicken with kitchen twine and place on its side in a roasting pan.

Roast the chicken for 15 minutes, then turn onto the other side. Roast for another 15 minutes, then turn the chicken, breast-side up. Add the onion and garlic to the pan and cook for another 20-30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through, basting frequently – the chicken is ready when the juices from the thigh joint run clear when pierced with a skewer.

Remove the chicken from the oven and place, breast-side down, in a warm bowl.

Cover loosely with foil and leave to rest for 10 minutes before carving.

To serve, carve the chicken and divide among plates. Serve with cauliflower gratin, if desired.