From his days helming the kitchen at the former Cocotte restaurant in Little India to overseeing the former Bird Bird restaurant at Katong, chef Anthony Yeoh of Summerhill’s expertise with chicken has been a trademark.
He typically uses fresh hormone- and antibiotic- free Sakura Chicken from Kee Song Group, as he believes this plays a large part in giving his dishes their moist and tender texture. This Christmas, he suggests a roast chicken recipe that combines the fresh, fruity and mildly sweet flavours of pear and pickled grape with the savoury notes of sage and butter.
“We’re doing spiced pear cake for our Christmas dessert at Summerhill so I was thinking about the way you can straddle sweet and savoury notes once you add spices to fruit,” he says. “We translated this to a savoury dish that looks and feels wintry and Christmassy, but is light and easy to savour in our weather. Using grapes is a good alternative to cranberries when you’re using chicken as they’re available in smaller quantities and easy to use in other dishes such as pork, duck in a cheese platter or even as a snack on its own.”
Roast Chicken, Pears, Grapes and Sage
By chef-owner Anthony Yeoh, Summerhill
About 1.2kg, whole chicken, fresh, preferably hormone- and antibiotic-free
4 tbsp butter, at room temperature
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
Small bunch, fresh sage leaves chopped, more leaves to garnish
2 heads garlic, skin on, ends cut off and lightly crushed
2 Bartlett or Bosc pears, core removed, sliced into 8 wedges each
1 kg red seedless grapes, halved
For the pickling brine:
250ml white wine vinegar
250ml dry white wine
½ tsp black peppercorns
1 stick cinnamon
1 bay leaf
½ tsp fennel seeds
½ tsp aniseed
1. Bring pickling brine ingredients to the boil and simmer for a minute. Let cool.
2. Pour pickling brine over the grapes and let sit for at least 2 hrs in the fridge. This can be done a few days or a week ahead of time.
3. Preheat oven to 230˚C.
4. Mix butter, sage, salt and a few grinds of freshly ground pepper in a small bowl.
5. Loosen skin of each chicken at neck-cavity end with a finger and push further in, separating the skin from the flesh without breaking it if possible. Spread 2 tbsp butter mixture under the skin, reaching in as far as possible. Lightly grease the outside of the chicken with more of the butter mixture.
6. Insert the garlic cloves and half a lemon into the cavity of the chicken.
7. Rub pear wedges with remaining butter mixture just to coat and scatter on a roasting tray lined with parchment. Place chicken on top of the pears.
8. Place tray in centre of oven until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken reaches 65 ˚C, about 1 hr. Toss pears occasionally so they brown evenly.
9. Add pickled grape clusters and remaining sage about 10 mins before removing the chicken, scattering them over the pears.
10. When chicken is cooked, remove tray and cover lightly with foil. Leave to rest about 10 to 15 mins before carving.
11. Sieve juices from the pan after resting and serve with remaining half lemon to drizzle over the portioned chicken.
Look out for the rest of our birdy recipes leading up to Christmas!
More recipe videos can be found here, and follow #wndchristmas on Instagram for all things Christmas this festive season!