Chicken Orvieto, poached fig and zabaglione

Normally, I am lucky enough to take several trips a year – for a chef, there is no better way to expand your palate and educate yourself than by travelling.

I am looking forward to travelling again but in the meantime, enjoy these Italian dishes to take you back to a sunny place in the Mediterranean.

Chicken orvieto

(Serves 4 with leftovers)

Olive oil

1 onion, peeled and chopped

30 cloves garlic, peel and chop four, rest kept in skin

450g potatoes, peeled, diced

1 fennel bulb, sliced

1 lemon, juiced

1.5 kg chicken

250g black and green olives, pitted

1 rosemary sprig, destalked

1 glass of dry white wine

1 glass of water

Salt and pepper


Cook the onion in a heavy–bottomed pot in olive oil until soft, but not brown. Add the peeled garlic, potatoes, fennel and cook for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and add lemon juice; leave to cool.

Heat oven to 180C. Stuff cooked ingredients into chicken carcass and sew or close with a skewer. Season chicken skin with oil, salt and pepper and place in a roasting dish.

Place on one side in the oven, turning over after 20 minutes, repeating until the legs and all sides of the carcass are browned.

When turning over for the last time, add the rest of garlic, olives, rosemary and drizzle the bird with olive oil. Place back in oven for 20 minutes.

Insert a skewer between leg and breast and if liquid runs clear, the bird is cooked – if still bloody, return to oven.

When cooked, remove from roasting tray, cover and leave to rest, removing garlic and olives.

Place the tray on to the hob, adding a glass of wine and water. Stir well, leave to reduce.

Slice and serve with a tablespoon of the cooked stuffing, a tablespoon of the garlic and olives and drizzle over the cooked chicken juices (demi glaze).


Poached fig and zabaglione

(Serves 4)

400ml Marsala wine

100ml water

140g brown sugar

2 star anise

1 cinnamon stick

8 figs

For the zabaglione:

4 large egg yolks

1 tbsp brown sugar

1 pinch cornflour

150ml Marsala wine

To garnish:

Caster sugar


Place wine, water, brown sugar, star anise and cinnamon in a pot on the hob and bring to the boil. Reduce heat, simmer for three minutes.

Poach figs in the liquid for 15 minutes, covering with a cartouche until they have gone soft and the liquid is like syrup. Turn off the heat and leave to cool.

To make the zabaglione, boil a pot of water, not too full. Place the yolks into a bowl with the brown sugar and cornflour, place the bowl on to the water and whisk rapidly until the mix thickens. You want the mix to double in volume. Add the wine and whisk until fully mixed.

Place figs in bowl, poured over with syrup, topped with zabaglione. Decorate with star anise and cinnamon stick and dust with caster sugar.

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